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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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- During the National Child Protection Week, several APRRN members, including the Refugee Council of Australia, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and Jesuit Refugee Service joined a coalition of educators, carers and students, and led initiatives around the ‘No Child Left Behind’ Campaign advocating with the Federal government to ensure support for people impacted by COVID-19, especially the 16,000 children seeking asylum and their families.
- 7 September: 297 Rohingya refugees denied disembarkation and stranded at sea for 7 months landed in Aceh. Over 30 people died during the journey and three individuals died shortly upon arrival. APRRN member, Geutanyoe Foundation, assisted with the work on the ground and strongly advocates for regional action by governments to address the Rakhine crisis.
- 15 September: Fortify Rights re-released a video footage from Wang Kelian showing the conditions of the human trafficking camps and mass graves discovered in Perlis State Malaysia in 2015, reiterating the call for the Malaysian government to release the final report and recommendations of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) submitted one year ago
- 14 September: Khin Omar, the Chairperson of the Advisory Board of APRRN member, Progressive Voice, presented an oral statement on the situation of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar in the Interactive Dialogue during the UN Human Rights Council 45th session. She stated that domestic accountability is not possible in Myanmar, and called on the Security Council to refer Myanmar to the ICC or to establish an ad-hoc tribunal, and ensure Myanmar complies with the provisional measures ordered by the ICJ.
- Press Release: ‘International Criminal Court: Prosecute and Offer Witness Protection to Myanmar Army Deserters’. APRRN member, Fortify Rights obtained and analysed confessional videos of two Myanmar Army soldiers, now in the custody of the ICC, who were involved in massacres, rape, and other crimes against the Rohingya.
- 7 and 10 September: APRRN partnered with the Bangkok Prep International School to raise awareness about refugees, and engage students for potential support and project collaborations.
- 11 September: APRRN Secretariat and members, Asylum Access Thailand, Center for Asylum Protection, Coalition for the Rights of Refugees and Stateless Persons, and Fortify Rights, co-hosted a diplomatic briefing on the National Screening Mechanism with the German Embassy in Bangkok. The briefing was purposed to update on the progress of the implementation, to facilitate an open exchange, and to discuss opportunities and advocacy needed to enhance refugee protection in the country.
- APRRN member, HOST International, launched the ‘Capacity Building Service Project‘, an initiative to support Thailand’s Immigration Bureau and Department of Children and Youth (DCY) – key agencies responsible for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Determination of Measures and Approaches Alternative to Detention of Children in Immigration Detention Centers (MoU) to better understand refugee protection, case management, and referral processes.
Regional and Global
- Press Statement: ‘Three Years On, Rohingya Need Sustainable Solutions’. APRRN urges the international community to continue pushing for sustainable solutions for the Rohingya, for governments to strategise and undertake a comprehensive regional response, and for the return of women, children and men put in Bhasan Char.
- APRRN member, the International Detention Coalition (IDC) released their International Detention Monitoring updates for the month of September. Some highlights in the region include efforts to raise awareness on Alternatives to Detention amongst members of parliament in Japan, and collaboration with Thai government to strengthen refugee protection.
- Report: ‘The Status of Human Rights in ASEAN during COVID-19 Pandemic’. Solidarity for ASEAN Peoples’ Advocacies (SAPA), Shape-SEA and APRRN member, FORUM-ASIA, conducted a series of webinars discussing measures taken by ASEAN and its member states in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and impacts on the human rights situation on the ground from March to May 2020. Trends documented include: Increased vulnerability of the marginalised, including refugees; lack of transparency impacting health; restrictions on information; criminalisation and oppressive law enforcement.
- 15 September: APRRN member, the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR) hosted two virtual consultations with Rohingya refugees – one was more focused on the Cox’s Bazar local context and the other with a more regional reach. Both consultations were purposed to identify key issues, capacity gaps, and opportunities with the aim to establish a Rohingya refugee think tank group in the region. A report will be shared soon.
On the radar
- APRRN, along with members, PILnet, Act for Peace, and Justice Centre Hong Kong, are organising the 2nd Asia Pro Bono Legal Community Workshop for NGOs, in which NGOs can seek guidance on how to develop their proposals for pro bono support. Please see the concept note and the menu of legal services. The event will take place on 30 September 2020 and you can register here via Zoom.
- The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is recruiting for a Migration and Displacement Senior Officer to work with the Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS). Please see the full job description and details on how to apply here and here. Deadline for applications is end of the day (Geneva time) on Sunday 27 September 2020
- UNHCR is launching the UNHCR NGO Innovation Award 2020 which celebrates efforts and achievements of UNHCR partners who developed innovative approaches for protection and delivery of services to refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR. A prize of USD 15,000 will be granted to each winner. One representative of each winning RLO will be invited to attend a virtual or in person award ceremony held by UNHCR in December 2020. Nominations are accepted here. The deadline for submitting nominations is Friday, 25 September 2020 (23:59 CET)