The following is a brief bringing you highlights of advocacy efforts by APRRN, members, partners, and what’s upcoming. We hope to provide you with regular updates on our network’s activities and developments in the landscapes of refugee protection in the Asia Pacific region. Should you like to contribute information, resources, or updates, kindly contact Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) wrote to five State Premiers, warning them to prepare for the Federal Government’s latest move to strip financial assistance from more than 500 refugees and people seeking asylum previously transferred from Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
- 19 September: Lilianne Fan, the Chair of the Rohingya Working Group and the Co-Founder of Geutanyoe Foundation, presented as a panellist at the film screening of ‘Peumulia Jamee‘. The documentary highlighted Aceh’s response towards the Rohingya during the refugee crisis. It also explored the relationship between the Rohingya refugees and the Acehnese community – drawing from the hopes, dreams and challenges that both groups share.
- 19 September: Amnesty International (AI) has been forced to shut down operations in India and lay off all staff after the Indian government froze its bank accounts. The move was a culmination of a two-year campaign of harassment by the Home Affairs Ministry, taken after two reports highlight critical of the government’s human rights record were published.
- 17 September: Lilianne Fan spoke on a panel at a webinar, ‘The Treatment of Non-Citizens during Covid-19‘, organised by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS). The webinar focused on ways to ensure inclusivity in responses to COVID-19 for Malaysian citizens and non-citizens while recognising public services are funded by local taxpayers.
- 17 September: The Rohingya Human Rights Initiative joined 29 Rohingya organisations worldwide to sign a joint statement expressing their solidarity with the people of Rakhine State, Myanmar, suffering from abuses by the Tatmadaw, and strongly urging the international community to support justice efforts.
- 18 September: Rafi Zaw Win, the Founder and Head of the Rohingya Human Rights Monitoring Network (RHRMN), wrote an op-ed, ‘Myanmar’s State-Sponsored Genocide Against Rohingya: Whose Responsibility To Protect?‘, which was published in The Eurasia Review. The article talks about the historical context of the plight of the Rohingya and the duties that duty bearers and the international community should do to intervene the Rohingya crisis.
- 23 September: APRRN co-hosted a webinar, the first of a two-part series on ‘Anti-Terrorism Law in the Philippines – National and Regional Impact on Civil Liberties and International Protection’ with the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR). The webinar discussed issues and concerns surrounding the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, and highlighted the law’s effect on human rights, democracy, civil society, as well as asylum in the region.
- 17 and 18 September: Fortify Rights organised a two-day workshop, ‘From Activists to Media Influencers’, for refugee rights defenders covering topics such as the importance of social media and media communication strategies; ethical and legal considerations in publishing advocacy materials; the power of utilising visuals to create positive change; and interview and report designing skills for human rights. APRRN’s Operations Coordinator, Patcharin Nawichai, with 17 others attended the workshop.
Regional and Global
- 22 September: Migrant Forum in Asia co-organised a webinar on the ‘Global Compact on Migration (GCM) Objective 4: Ensure That All Migrants Have Proof of Legal Identity and Adequate Documentation’. This 23-part series is aimed at building the momentum, engagement, and participation at ground level from stakeholders and practitioners for the implementation of the GCM in the lead up to the Regional Migration Review Forum.
- Joint Statement: Amnesty International, Caritas, the Danish Refugee Council, Jesuit Refugee Service, and Refugees International are among the 41 organisations that signed a statement highlighting the concern with European Union’s disproportionate focus on returning and deporting Afghans from Europe shaping negotiations, and the need to address the underlying drivers of instability and violent conflict in Afghanistan.
- Op-Ed: Save the Children co-wrote an op-ed in the Nikkei Asia Review which urges governments in the region to make effective use of frameworks for collective regional action to protect the lives of desperate people and addressing the root cause of the Rohingya migration crisis.
- Webinar: PILnet, Act for Peace, and Justice Centre Hong Kong organised a second workshop, ‘Asia Pro Bono Legal Community Workshop for NGOs’, to provide legal support to refugees and forcibly displaced people. This workshop was designed for NGOs and other legal aid service providers who may benefit from pro bono legal support. A regional roundtable will soon follow, bringing together NGOs and law firms to strengthen and expand network connections, and to provide a space for pilot projects and opportunities for pro bono work to be proposed and discussed.
- Article: Najeeba Wazefadost, the Chair of the Refugee Leadership and Participation Working Group and Co-Founder of the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR) co-wrote an article entitled, ‘By Refugees, for Refugees: Refugee Leadership during COVID-19, and beyond’, underscoring the crucial need to honour commitments made to refugee leadership and participation a direct, meaningful, and substantive way.
- Webinar: UNHCR and the Japan ICU Foundation (JICUF) continued the ‘Online Discussion Series on Higher Education Initiatives for Refugees in Asia and the Pacific’ with a session on ‘Connected Higher Education for Refugees’, presenting examples of how connected learning programmes and partners strive to ensure that students have both the flexibility and the support they need to succeed. Panellists of this webinar include APRRN Chair, Arash Bordbar, and Gul Inanc from Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies.
On the radar
- On 14 October, the Danish Refugee Council and the Mixed Migration Centre will be hosting a webinar entitled ‘COVID-19 and the Global Refugee and Migration Compacts: What Learning and Way Forward?’. The webinar will talk about the two studies conducted, looking at COVID-19 and the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) respectively. Please refer to this link for the agenda and the registration.