Monthly Briefs (March 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.
Evan Jones (Asia Displacement Solutions Platform) and Shahrzad Amoli (CARE) wrote a piece in the March issue of the Forced Migration Review on lessons learned from the 2018 Afghanistan drought and how these can be used for improved future responses.
Sitarah Mohammadi (Deputy Chair of APRRN) has been actively advocating for increased refugee intake from Afghanistan to Australia. Sitarah has spoken on national news and met with government officials as part of this advocacy. Sajjad Askary (Deputy Chair of the Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Working Group) has also been advocating alongside Sitarah and other dedicated organisations. One of the outcomes from their advocacy last month included a media release by Amnesty International Australia that called for urgent action from Australia to increase humanitarian intake of refugees from Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Ukraine. Please refer to Sitarah’s LinkedIn page for more posts on her activities.
- 15 March: The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) launched the Refugee Alternatives webinars, in which experts with lived experience explore current global refugee protection. The first webinar took a deep dive into mass displacement in Africa (including Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan) by Adama Kamara (Deputy CEO of RCOA), Ahmad Shuja Jamal (Special Advisor at RCOA) provided insights and analysis on Afghanistan, Hafsar Tamesesuddin (Chair of APRRN) spoke on displacement from and in Myanmar. Chris Sidoti (former Australian Human Rights Commissioner) explored how these conflicts and the mass displacement relate and connect to Australia and what Australia should be expected to do.
- 30 March: RCOA published a report entitled, ‘The Federal Budget: What it means for refugees and people seeking humanitarian protection’, which covered the expansion of the Australian government’s refugee programme for Afghan refugees, the budget being spent on offshore detention facilities, the reduction in budget for resettlement services, and the government’s response to Ukrainian refugees.
- 15 March: The International Detention Coalition (IDC) published a news release entitled, ‘Growing Through The Azalea Initiative: Refugee Leadership Programme in Malaysia’, that talked about the Akar Umbi Society Development’s progress in their pilot programme with modules surrounding themes of migration, identities, power, resilience, justice, solidarity, and community organising that aims to empower women of marginalised identities and increase their capacities to become changemakers within their communities. The development was made possible through a series of workshops that IDC and its partners - including APRRN member SUKA Society - organised.
- Asylum Access Malaysia collaborated with Kource to produce a three-part documentary series entitled, ‘Celebration of Hope’, that looks into the lived differences of refugees in Malaysia during the holy month of Ramadan, as they share their lives, stories and memories while cooking throughout the day, preparing for iftar. Please refer to this Facebook page to view the videos.
- 24 March: “Nowhere is Safe”: The Myanmar Junta’s Crimes Against Humanity Following the Coup d’État, a new report by Fortify Rights was released. It details more than 120 testimonies, leaked documents, and an in-depth legal analysis of new evidence gathered. The report focuses on the first six months in the aftermath of the February 1, 2021 coup, finding that the Myanmar junta is responsible for crimes against humanity under international law, and reveals the identities of 61 Myanmar military and police officials who should be investigated and possibly prosecuted. Watch the press conference and panel discussion for the report launch here.
- 30 March: Save the Children released a statement to call on the Thai government to open its borders to refugees fleeing the violence in Myanmar and to refrain from forcing them to go back when they reach Thailand. The statement also called for NGOs to be allowed to aid these refugees without limitations.
- 18 March: HOST International organised an online event for International Women’s Day that included female delegates creating change, bridging gaps, and leading inclusive communities in Australia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. APRRN Short Course participant, Nimo Ahmed, was one of the speakers at the event.
- Fundraising opportunity: RUN Hong Kong is currently running a WiFA x RUN Virtual Fitness Challenge fundraising campaign to support vulnerable refugees to rebuild their mental and physical strength, unite across differences as a community, and nurture self-reliance for a more hopeful future.
- Funding opportunity: The Resourcing Refugee Leadership Initiative (RRLI) is providing funds for refugee-led organisations (RLOs) in Indonesia. RRLI is a coalition of refugee-led organisations which seek to resource RLOs to uplift communities and combat systematic refugee exclusion within refugee response. Applications close on 4 March. Learn more about the funding opportunity here.
- Charity: The Manushya Foundation is running a fundraising campaign for displaced people and refugees from Myanmar as a result of the violence perpetrated by the military in Kayah state in late December 2021. For more information, please go here.
- Development opportunity: 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.
- Job opportunity: The Refugee Council of Australia on behalf of the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees is seeking a Communications Officer to promote the work, concerns, and ideas of refugees and refugee-led organisations through news media, bulletins, social media, and assisting in writing and editing copy of awareness and advocacy campaigns. Applications close on 24 February. For the full job description, please go here.
- Scholarship opportunity: SAP SE, a multinational software corporation, is offering a scholarship programme for refugees and displaced youth aged between 18 and 30. SAP will fund 50 associate degrees and 50 bachelor’s degrees in computer science or business administration at the University of the People, where they currently have more than 10,000 students with refugee backgrounds.
- Job opportunity: Borderless 360 is seeking an energetic and dedicated person to map, build, and execute the technical architecture of its digital platform. The ideal candidate will have professional experience in online solutions, platform planning and development across multiple initiatives within a single organisational structure, and be passionate about refugee rights. Applications close at midnight Singapore time on 1 March. Learn more about the full job description here.
- Learning opportunity: The Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University (CPJ), is launching a five-day Short Course on Refugee Studies on 12 - 16 March. The online course will bring together scholars and practitioners and offer participants a unique learning experience focusing on a range of themes broadly relating to refugee studies, particularly the Rohingya refugee situation in Bangladesh. The course fee is approximately USD250 and applications close on 1 March. Learn more about the course here.
APRRN is delighted to welcome our new Afghanistan Consultant to our network. Rana is a British-Iranian U.K.-trained lawyer. She has worked with refugees and people seeking asylum for almost 20 years in the U.K., Thailand, Germany, and Jordan. Rana has represented Afghan refugees in their applications for asylum and resettlement throughout that time. As of August 2021, Rana has been working with legal networks supporting Afghans through evacuation, resettlement, and humanitarian support. Rana is delighted to be co-leading APRRN's work on Afghanistan, to improve protection, assistance, and resettlement for Afghans within Afghanistan ands neighbouring countries at this time of great need.
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 and ongoing crises in Afghanistan and Myanmar.
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