BIWEEKLY BRIEFS: 16-31 MAY 2021

Biweekly Briefs

(16-31 May 2021)

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 michelle@aprrn.org.

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Advocacy Updates

National

Afghanistan

The Asia Displacement Solutions Platform of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) hosted a virtual event on ‘Lessons from the 2018 Afghanistan drought – looking back to look forwards’. It aimed to generate positive contributions to capital-level discussions around 2021 drought planning, as well as further highlighting the ongoing and upcoming humanitarian challenges in the country related climate-induced displacement.

Australia

The Refugee Council of Australia has been taking part in a campaign to raise funds and awareness for refugees who have been stuck for eight years in the offshore processing regime Australia runs with Nauru and Papua New Guinea. ‘Operation Not Forgotten’ began in 2019 and so far almost 150 refugees from the detention facilities in Nauru and Papua New Guinea will be resettled in Canada – made possible by this campaign. They are currently in the last stages of approval for resettlement in Canada.

Bangladesh

25 May: Odhikar was one of the organisations to release a joint statement entitled ‘Government must conduct impartial and thorough investigations into all cases of enforced disappearance and bring the perpetrators to justice’. The statement, which was released on the occasion International Week of the Disappeared, called on the government of Bangladesh to return all disappeared persons to their families and ensure justice for the victims.

Myanmar

  • 25 May: Fortify Rights published a news release calling on the government of the United Kingdom to take immediate action to deprive the Myanmar military junta of natural gas revenues, weapons, and political legitimacy, and ensure accountability for its past and present mass atrocity crimes in the country.
  • 27 May: A representative from Burma Campaign UK took part as a speaker at the ‘Military Myanmar: Fearing Freedom’ webinar hosted by the London School of Economics. The webinar included a discussion with academics and activists on the February 2021 military coup in Myanmar and the future of democracy in the country.

Thailand

20 and 27 May: APRRN and the Coalition for the Rights of Refugees and Stateless Persons (CRSP) organised and hosted a focus group discussions and a virtual roundtable event on the National Screening Mechanism (NSM). The events included refugees from different nationalities with strong leadership skills and the ability to share widely the information gained through this roundtable within their communities. One of the objectives was to disseminate knowledge on the NSM’s background and the implementation’s progress. The participants discussed gaps in refugee and asylum seeker protection, opportunities to increase the NSM’s meaningful contribution to the protection landscape in Thailand, and put forth recommendations.

Regional

  • 19 May: APRRN, the Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies (CAPRS), the Asian Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR), and the Asia School of Business established in collaboration with MIT Sloan organised a webinar entitled, ‘Trust: A Precondition for Protection and Durable Solution’. Featuring an in-depth discussion on trust, irrespective of which countries in the world refugees may be from, they are often in positions where they are unable to access their fundamental human rights. In the context of COVID-19, the concept of ‘trust’ has been spotlighted as an essential factor that must be built and developed with refugees and refugee communities. You can watch the webinar on YouTube here.
  • 20 May: APRRN organised a parallel event for the 2021 Gwangju Democracy Forum on ‘Inclusive Democracies and Refugees in Asia’. The event had speakers from organisational members Act for Peace, ALTSEAN-Burma, APNOR, and INHURED International.
  • 27 May: The Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) hosted a webinar on ‘The experience of refugees and migrants in host countries in Southeast Asia’. The webinar presented findings from MMC’s research in Malaysia and Indonesia, followed by discussions by civil society actors and refugees in the two countries. You can watch the webinar here.
  • CAPRS hosted a talanoa (‘talk’ in Fijian), the first in the ‘Across the changing shores: Climate Mobilities in the Pacific’ online series. The series covers the issues and uncertainties around defining the scale, pace and urgency of climate mobilities in the Pacific. The video of the talanoa is available here.

On the radar

  • Conference: The Refugee Law Initiative, University of London, is hosting their 5th Annual Conference – an international forum dedicated to debating the latest research and developments in the field of refugee law. The conference builds on the success of previous RLI conferences in uniting refugee law academics, practitioners, policy-makers, and students. It is based on the principle of free and open access online to allow for truly global participation. The event will take place on 9-11 June and you can go here for more information.
  • Funding opportunity: The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) is offering funding to support civil society organisations (CSOs) in the Indo-Pacific to carry out short-term, high-impact activities to protect civic space, and resist restrictive governmental responses to COVID-19.
    The funding ceiling is $25,000 and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until 30 June. The activity funded by each grant must be completed by 30 September 2021. For more information, please head over here.
  • Awareness and funding: APNOR is running an awareness raising campaign, #EducationEmpowersRefugees, to raise funds to keep refugee schools running. The campaign also includes the Refugee Education Interest Group where interested individuals are welcomed to sign up to engage in helping refugees continue their education and to receive updates from the campaign. You can sign up here and spread the hashtag on social media platforms and among your network.
  • Volunteering opportunity: The Refugee Council of Australia is seeking volunteers to support the various aspects of their Refugee Alternatives Conference. It will take place on 6-7 July and the deadline to apply is on 11 June. Please go here for the full description.
  • Good practice: The Forcibly Displaced People Network is running a campaign to raise funds for LGBTIQ+ people who have been forcibly displaced due to their home country’s discriminatory actions towards them. Please go here for more.

From the Secretariat

APCRR8

APRRN is hosting and coordinating the 8th Asia Pacific Consultation on Refugee Rights – in short APCRR8 – virtually from 14 to 18 June. APCRR is a biennial meeting, and in fact, APRRN was founded as a result of the 1st Asia Pacific Consultation on Refugee Rights in Kuala Lumpur in 2008. Since then, APCRR has been held in Bangkok (2009, 2010, 2014 and 2016) and in Seoul (2012). In 2016, APCRR6 was attended by over 140 participants from across the region working on refugee issues. However, due to the travel and border restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, APCRR8 will be conducted virtually this year.

JOB VACANCY

APRRN is looking for a suitable candidate to fill the position of Secretary-General who is passionate about advancing the rights of refugees and other people in need of protection, who will use her or his skills and knowledge to help us achieve our network’s goals and support the collaborative efforts of our diverse membership. Interested applicants must have an understanding of organisational change and capacity building processes, skills and experience in the leadership of an organisation, a minimum of three years work experience in promoting and protecting the human rights of forced migrants, and a relevant tertiary degree would be ideal. For more information and to apply, please go here.

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