(1-15 November 2020)
The following is a brief bringing you highlights of advocacy efforts by APRRN, 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 email@example.com.
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- 5 November: Amnesty International, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Jesuit Refugee Service, Multicultural Youth Affairs Network NSW, and Refugee Council of Australia joined a coalition of 60 organisations to launch a Time For A Home campaign which calls the Australian government to release refugees in immigration detention and commit to a pathway for their resettlement by June 2021.
- Member update: Carolina Gottardo joined the International Detention Coalition as their new Executive Director. She has held senior and executive management positions for the last 15 years, including Executive Director roles at Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) Australia, and Latin American Women’s Rights Service in the United Kingdom. She aims to establish an IDC Europe headquarters in 2021.
- 12 November: Fortify Rights, with Amnesty International and Refugees International, published a news release calling the Bangladesh government to free more than 300 Rohingya refugees detained on Bhasan Char island and cease plans for further relocations to the island until after independent appraisals that allow Rohingya to make informed and voluntary decisions
- Member update: Justice Centre Hong Kong has announced Melanie McLaren as their new Executive Director. Upon her selection, Melanie shared: “I am honoured and excited to be taking on the role of Executive Director, and to be working to secure protection for our refugee clients”
- 13 November: Fortify Rights and Tenaganita joined other NGOs in calling the Malaysian government to give UNHCR access to asylum seekers and refugees in detention centres. UNHCR said they were not allowed to meet detained refugees and asylum seekers for more than a year. The agency conducts such visits to determine who should be given refugee status and allowed to leave the country.
- 9 November: Fortify Rights published a news release calling the international community to collectively condemn the mass disenfranchisement of Rohingya in Myanmar’s national elections held on November 8. Human rights groups have raised concerns over Myanmar’s elections this year, including the disenfranchisement of ethnic minority voters, most notably the Rohingya.
Regional and Global
- 1 November: APRRN joined 12 other organisations in submitting a joint response for the Draft General Comment No. 5 (2020) on migrants’ rights to liberty and freedom from arbitrary detention to the United Nations Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. This submission to the United Nations Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW) was made on behalf of 12 civil society organisations and individuals working on issues concerning gender, sexuality and migration.
- Oxfam, Save the Children, along with 14 other humanitarian organisations, released a joint response that calls Southeast Asian leaders to protect refugees and prevent a repeat of this year’s “boat crisis” when some 200 refugees lost their lives at sea ahead of the 37th ASEAN Summit (12-15 November). ASEAN leaders must acknowledge that while the root causes of the refugee crisis lie in Myanmar, the crisis requires a regional response.
On the radar
- 18 November: Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies is co-hosting an event with Asia Displacement Solutions Platform entitled ‘Durable Solutions for Displaced Afghans’. After four decades of conflict, Afghans remain one of the largest and longest displaced populations in the world. Yet, return still remains an elusive prospect for most Afghan refugees. This event brings together an expert panel to discuss what ‘return and reintegration’ means in today’s Afghanistan? What role can refugees play in rebuilding Afghanistan and what are the barriers to return currently? Panellists will seek to explore the centrality of refugees in decision-making and policy development, the need for regional cooperation, and discuss the steps necessary to bring about greater cohesion between humanitarian and development actors in order to facilitate long-term solutions for displaced Afghans.
- The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is seeking a Deputy Chief Executive Officer based in Melbourne or Sydney. The Deputy CEO will work closely with the CEO in supporting the RCOA staff team’s work in policy research, advocacy, community engagement and public communication on refugee issues. Please click here for the full job description. Applications will be closed on 30 November 2020.
- 30 November: The Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (Australia) is hosting a national youth panel entitled, ‘Cultural Identity and Disability: Diverse Perspectives from Young People’, which is developed and led by young people of diverse cultural backgrounds with lived experience of disability. Please click here to register.
- 1 December: Settlement Services International will be lending support to #ColourFULL Conference, a one-day event and Australia’s first leadership and entrepreneurship conference by women of colour, for women of colour and allies. Please click here for the agenda and to register.
- From 17-19 November, Open Society Foundation and United Cities and Local Governments will convene ‘Towards a Future without Mandatory Detention: A Three-Part Series of Dialogues with Frontline and Local Leaders’. The panels feature 12 frontline activists who will discuss the rise of mandatory detention, assess the current situation, and explain how a world without mandatory detention would work to everyone’s benefit. This collective reflection aims ultimately at rethinking current approaches that have proved inefficient, bringing local, national, and international governments and institutions to an open discussion towards a community-led vision for 2045 that puts people, care, and social justice at the center.
- 18 November: APRRN, APNOR, and Centre for Asia Pacific Refugees Studies will co-convene a webinar on “the future of refugee mobility & resettlement while borders remain closed”. The will explore what this means for refugees, and how governments and other actors will make sure that this lifeline is protected. Please click here to register.
- 25 November: APRRN, APNOR, and Centre for Asia Pacific Refugees have partnered with Settlement Services International to conduct a webinar entitled “Gender and (in)security”. This session intends to explore how civil society, governments and other actors can actively include women in immediate and long-term decision making, especially in relation to commitments in various realms such as the Sustainable Development Goals. Please click here to register.
- 26 November: Forcibly Displaced People Network is organising a webinar, ‘Practicing solidarity with LGBTIQ+ forcibly displaced people: Canberra Statement workshop’ to discuss ways to better support the LGBTIQ+ refugees & people seeking asylum. Canberra Statement was designed to be a global solidarity tool to bring attention to the rights and issues of LGBTIQ+ people who have been forcibly displaced. It put forward a number of actions that are needed to achieve safety and justice for these communities. Please click here to register.
- The Oak Institute for Human Rights, located in Colby College, USA, is accepting applications and nominations for its 2021 Human Rights and Incarceration Fellowship. The deadline for nominations is 30 November 2020, and for completed applications is 30 December 2020.