Monthly Briefs (May 2022)
The following details, highlight APRRN and partners' advocacy efforts over the month, as well as upcoming activities. We strive to provide you with regular updates on the network’s activities and developments in the refugee protection sphere, alongside the emerging political climate in the Asia Pacific region. Should you like to contribute information, resources, or updates, kindly contact Sharon at MSCO@aprrn.org.
10 May: Rebecca Lim, a Brisbane-based community engagement/migration practitioner and ITRAN member recently published a book on the experiences of Queensland volunteers working with people seeking asylum in Australia. The book, ‘Does Australia Love its Neighbour?’ is a timely reminder of why offshore detention (and processing) is a policy with hugely negative ramifications. Rebecca Lim was interviewed on Brisbane ABC Radio regarding the book. You can order the book by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
15 May: Rebecca Lim (ITRAN) was featured in an article on the Age regarding the Australian refugee resettlement system and provision of temporary protection visas. The article and Lim comment on how the upcoming election in Australia could shift this structure and change the lives of 19,000 people.
25 May: Muzafar Ali (Cisarua Learning) was featured in a Guardian article regarding the distribution of the Australian government’s anti-‘illegal migration’ playing cards to children in an Indonesian refugee school. The cards were branded with the Australian government’s Zero Chance logo and QR code. Distributors of the playing cards were allegedly trespassing on the school grounds, which is based in West Java. These cards are a part of the Australian Border Force’s “offshore deterrence messaging”. Cisarua Learning is now urging the new Australian government to investigate the distribution of these playing cards, underlining that the act is a clear violation of children’s rights, worsened by the fact that these are marginalised refugee children.
26 May: Fortify Rights produced a news release calling on the Government of Bangladesh to investigate and hold accountable police involved in beating and committing other abuses against Rohingya refugees, including children. Read the full release here.
1 April: The Global Detention Project (GDP) published their Joint Submission to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on India. This was authored by the Global Detention Project, APRRN and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). This submission focuses on human rights concerns with respect to migration-related detention in India and the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. The report details the context in India, setting out ongoing concerns around detention and deportation and provides recommendations for the third cycle of the UPR. Please read the full submission here.
10 - 11 May: APRRN and members participated in Global Action for Myanmar Peace & Federal Democracy and Chin Humanitarian Aid International’s Mizoram response stakeholders networking meeting, to map what various actors are doing in Mizoram and what the most urgent needs are going forward. This included participation from local health professionals, humanitarian and response organisations, NGOs and ethnic communities, individuals and volunteers.
5 May: FORUM-ASIA released a video recording of their "Beyond ASEAN’s Five Point Consensus: Humanitarian Assistance to Myanmar" event. Speakers of the webinar included a representative from the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), Chin Human Rights Organization, ISEAS and the Karen Human Rights Group. Access the recording here.
20 May: Advocates For Refugees - Singapore (AFR-SG) launched their annual online campaign Human Kind: Resisting Difference And Indifference to commemorate World Refugee Day.
3 May: Fortify Rights released a news release urging the Government of Thailand to investigate a video showing uniformed Thai soldiers destroying a makeshift cross-border footbridge used by refugees fleeing deadly attacks in eastern Myanmar. New evidence also implicates Thai authorities in arbitrarily arresting and allegedly extorting refugees in the border town of Mae Sot.
March 2022: Evan Jones (Asia Displacement Solutions Platform) and ICVA participated in the joint CSO contribution to UNHCR’s Standing Committee. The NGO Statement on Asia and the Pacific has now been released and is available here.
18 May: ICVA held an online event to commemorate their 60th anniversary. ICVA shared their 2021 Annual Report, updates on forced migration, financing, coordination as well as climate action, child rights, safeguarding and the regional hubs.
24 May: APRRN member, IDC with the support of OHCHR, the Regional UN Network on Migration for the Asia Pacific, and the Global UN Network on Migration released a report on Immigration Detention and Alternatives to Detention in the Asia-Pacific Region. The report includes immigration detention contexts across Asia Pacific, as well as Country Profiles developed by Vivienne Chew and Min Jee Yamada Park (IDC). Please access the report here.
6 May: Rez Gardi (Empower Youth), James Milner (Carleton University) and Mustafa Alio (R-SEAT) published an article titled ‘Meaningful Refugee Participation: An Emerging Norm in the Global Refugee Regime’ in the Refugee Survey Quarterly. The article draws on an ongoing collaboration between R-SEAT and Carleton University’s LERRN to understand and advance refugee participation in the governance of the refugee regime.
10 May: The International Detention Coalition (IDC) released a blog post on their approach to the IMRF and beyond. The purpose of the IMRF, scheduled for 17 - 20 May 2022, is to review the progress of governments and stakeholders in implementing the commitments and principles stated in all of the GCM Objectives. The GCM, which has 23 objectives, is the world’s first intergovernmental agreement covering all areas of international migration. IDC was an integral civil society actor in the process of developing and ensuring that Objective 13 of the GCM was reflected in existing human rights standards and obligations, and offered a solutions-focused way to action commitments. Objective 13 is: use migration detention only as a measure of last resort and work towards alternatives (read the full text of Objective 13 on pages 20-21 of the GCM here.)
17 - 19 May: APRRN members attended the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), which reviewed progress on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). There was also a stakeholder meeting on 16th May which assessed the GCM Progress Declaration. Carolina Gottardo (International Detention Coalition), Rey Asis (Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants), David Keegan (Host International), Michele Levoy (Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants), Brian Barbour (Act for Peace) and Shannon White (Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network Australia) were present in person during the stakeholder meeting and IMRF. Watch APRRN members’ presentations at the stakeholder meeting here (IDC: 2:25:00; Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants: 2:50:00; Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants: 23:00). Watch the roundtable discussions of the IMRF day one (17 May) here and here. This includes presentations and discussions from members IDC and Migrant Forum Asia.
19 May: The International Detention Coalition led an IMRF side event, leveraging their role as co-lead of the UN Network on Migration Working Group on Alternatives to Detention alongside UNICEF and UNHCR. The panel event, co-organised with governments of Thailand, Portugal, and Colombia, focused on ending child immigration detention, and featured APRRN member Hayat Akbari (Chair of the Youth Working Group), alongside government and UN representatives, and IDC’s Executive Director Carolina Gottardo. The event also provided insight into IDC's newly published report Gaining Ground: Promising Practice to Reduce and End Immigration Detention.
20 May: Chris Eades (APRRN Secretary General) was featured in an Al Jazeera article commenting on the plight of Tamil refugees stranded on the island Diego Garcia for over eight months. The stranded group of 89 recently held a hunger strike to protest the UK government’s inaction.
25 May: Najeeba Wazefadost spoke at a webinar organised by PHAP and the Global Academic Interdisciplinary Network (GAIN) on translating academic research into effective responses to forced displacement. Launched at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum, GAIN brings together universities, academic alliances, and research institutions, together with UNHCR and other relevant stakeholders to support the implementation of the GCR.
Development opportunities and tools
The Asia Pacific Network of Refugees is conducting a survey on Refugee capacity building needs in the Asia Pacific Region. Based on this survey APNOR will conduct training for the empowerment of refugees for a better future. Please head over here to take the survey.
Tool: The Migration & Asylum Project (M.A.P) has successfully launched a first-of-its-kind app for forcibly displaced women/girls in India. 'Talika' is designed for communities with low literacy levels, poor digital capacities, heightened privacy concerns, and language barriers. Through this app, M.A.P aims to facilitate linkages to hyperlocal support structures, mainly, NGOs, paralegal volunteers, government clinics, police stations, legal aid centres etc., and government helplines. The app is available for Android users to download here.
Settlement Services International is currently calling for applicants with a refugee background to join their Refugee Employment Support Programme (RESP). RESP is available to people in western Sydney and the Illawarra who are underemployed or unemployed and require extra support. Any person who has arrived in Australia on a refugee visa from December 1, 2011, aged 16 to 66, is eligible for the programme. For the full description, please go here.
Talent Beyond Borders (TBB) offers an employment connection platform for refugees, in English and Arabic. TBB is a nonprofit organisation committed to opening labour mobility pathways for refugees and other displaced people. TBB does not work on refugee resettlement but rather connects refugees with international employment opportunities so that they may work in countries where they can access full rights and stability. By registering on the platform, refugees are connected to companies in need of their skills. Employers gain valuable talent and displaced people have a chance to rebuild their careers and lives. More information here.
The Refugee Council of Australia is holding a webinar on 9 June, titled: The Strength Within: Community-led organisations key to refugee protection and integration. This webinar is a part of RCOA’s Refugee Alternatives series. In advance of Refugee Week, the webinar will explore how the breadth and depth of assistance provided by mostly volunteer-run community-led organisations – as well as the unique challenges they face – can be invisible to those outside of refugee communities. The webinar will have speakers from some of the many hundreds of refugee community-led organisations that exist across Australia. Presenters will talk about the ways that they respond to the ever-changing challenges, hopes and aspirations of their communities, and how we can better acknowledge, support and amplify the strengths within community networks. Please register for the webinar here.
May 2022: Grant Mitchell, formerly of the International Detention Coalition released the Practice Guide for Civil Society: Engaging decision-makers on human rights issues. The creative and practical ideas highlighted in this guide are drawn from the direct advocacy experiences of human rights practitioners working on forced displacement across all regions. Grant says: 'This was really inspired by the work of many, including APPRN members, and is published this week by the Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies (CAPRS) at the University of Auckland, this guide has been developed to enhance the confidence and capacity of civil society to engage decision-makers on critical human rights issues.' The guide includes a range of tools, tips, resources, and strategies used to increase access, overcome barriers, and contribute to decision-maker receptivity to consider policy change in line with international human rights. A key focus of the guide is to support emerging civil society leadership and the voice and self-representation of affected communities and activists in their advocacy work.
Call for Applications: The Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) is inviting women’s rights and feminist organisations across Asia Pacific to apply for the APWLD Sub-grant for National Monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals and Development Justice 2022-2023. APWLD are seeking to fund organisations to conduct country-level SDG implementation monitoring, using the Feminist Development Justice framework and to undertake advocacy on this. Deadline 7 June. More information here.
The U.S. Mission to Indonesia is offering funding from the U.S. Embassy Jakarta. Funding priorities include activities that promote U.S.- Indonesia strategic partnership, people to people ties, and shared values, including democratic governance, freedom of speech, tolerance and diversity, the rule of law, and human rights. 30,000 - 100,000 USD is available for a period of maximum 12 months. The deadline is 16 June 2022. More information here.
The U.S. Mission to Thailand is offering funding from the U.S. Embassy Bangkok. Funding priorities include: rule of law, democratic values, and human rights; environment and global health; youth critical thinking skills and promoting civic engagement to counter disinformation and improve media/digital literacy; building digital skills and opportunities for women entrepreneurs; and education. 5,000 - 25,000 USD is available for a period of maximum 12 months. The deadline is 31 July 2022. More information here.
The Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) has released a regional Call for Proposals in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan to promote the socio-economic recovery, participation and leadership of Afghan women and young women in forced displacement. WPHF seeks to fund local organisations and innovative, impact-driven projects implemented by women’s rights organisations and organisations which are women-, youth- and refugee-led. Both institutional and programmatic funding is available, between 2,500 - 200,000 USD. To register interest for local information sessions, send an email to the relevant UN Women Country Office with subject line “Information Session Afghanistan Regional Response” by 8 May 2022. The deadline is 17 June. More information here.
The Open Technology Fund is offering funding within their Internet Freedom Fund. This programme supports projects and people working on open and accessible technology-focused initiatives that promote human rights, Internet freedom, and open societies. The Internet Freedom Fund accepts applications on a rolling basis, meaning there is no set deadline, and is done in a two-stage-process, from concept note to full application. More information here.
If you would like to apply to one of these funds in partnership with APRRN, please reach out to FDM@aprrn.org. APRRN would be happy to provide support and/or partnership where needed.
Want to see more funding opportunities? Please see here for APRRN’s funding database, which in particular sets out funding opportunities for refugee-led organisations and initiatives, alongside a sign-up sheet to provide support on applications as needed.
The APRRN Youth Working Group partnered with the University of York's Centre for Applied Human Rights on a project entitled 'Supporting Refugee Youth-Led Organisations in the Asia Pacific Region from November 2021 to April 2022. The project had three key aims, namely: to identify and map refugee youth organisations in the region and highlight their current projects; to identify the challenges faced in their work; and to identify the support needed and how APRRN could provide such support. On 23 May, the YWG held a presentation of project research findings and recommendations. 40 APRRN members attended this meeting. The report can be accessed here.
APRRN’s Afghanistan advisors are currently organising APRRN's Side Event on Afghanistan to be held at the UNHCR Annual NGO Consultations in June 2022. The advisors are also coordinating messaging for members attending the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) in May 2022 which will review progress on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). The Afghanistan advisors are also collating information on legal pathways out of Afghanistan, practical information on border crossings, passport issue and renewal, mapping mental health and psychosocial support services (MHPSS), and online or remote employment opportunities open to Afghan refugees. This information is collated on an Afghanistan-specific Facebook page, in both English and Dari.
For more than 13 years, APRRN has been a leader in the region, developing unique strategies and interventions that have directly advanced refugees’ socio-economic inclusion and equitable rights in a region facing severe human rights crises. APRRN plays a critical role in the civil society response to forced displacement, advocating for the rights of refugees through coordinated regional action to promote the implementation of refugee protective policy and legislation. Please support APRRN by contributing to our campaign, to ensure this crucial work continues unabated, while also enabling us to continue to respond to emerging crises in Afghanistan and Myanmar.
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