Monthly Briefs (December 2022)
The following Monthly Briefs highlight APRRN and partners' advocacy efforts over the month of December and inform about upcoming events and 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- APRRN is pleased to announce we are currently recruiting two Co-Secretary-Generals, with at least one of these positions requiring lived experience of forced displacement. The change in leadership structure signifies an exciting new chapter in APRRN’s development as we work to more meaningfully include the contributions and leadership of those with lived experience of forced displacement. Please share the vacancies with suitably qualified candidates.
- APRRN’s Rohingya Working Group members continue to monitor the deteriorating situation in Bangladesh camps and, as a consequence, the movements of thousands of men, women and children via sea and land to third countries. Lilliane Fan and Chris Lewa, Chair and Deputy Chair of the APRRN Rohingya Working Group, made a series of statements throughout the month in international and local media outlets calling for urgent search and rescue efforts responding to distress calls from Rohingya on the boats drifting in the Andaman Sea. APRRN and its members engaged with national authorities and the diplomatic community, providing information and encouraging efforts towards the rescue of people in distress at sea. Read more here and here.
- APRRN has signed the joint open letter led by SAHR (Strategic Advocacy for Human Rights) to address the impacts of the Taliban’s order to suspend women employees from working in local and international NGOs in Afghanistan calling on the international community to support women-led Afghan NGOs re-strategise to cope with the impacts of the Taliban’s new ban.
- 5th December: The APRRN Regional Protection Working Group (RPWG) held their fourth quarterly meeting on the planning for the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) in December 2023. APRRN provided a review of past pledges in the region and discussed how APRRN may best engage with the process to advocate key needs in the region through its membership, including RLOs, RLIs and other CSOs. Three focus areas were agreed upon: (i) leveraging APRRN’s participation in the NGO reference group as a vehicle for influencing the GRF, (ii) ensuring meaningful participation is maintained and strengthened, and (iii) the collective drafting of advocacy messages and key strategy points informing engagement by RPWG members and the wider APRRN membership. The document will seek to identify core advocacy targets for the GRF including gaps and opportunities to leverage existing pledges. It was also agreed that a general briefing for members on the GRF would be organised in late January or early February 2023.
- 6th December: The APRRN Rohingya Working Group (RWG) held a meeting with regional stakeholders on Rohingya Response: Review & Reflections / 2023 Plans & Priorities. The meeting chaired and moderated by RWG Chair, Lilianne Fan, was attended by 26 APRRN members including RLOs, Local NGOs, INGOs and individuals representing Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Italy, and Canada. RWG’s Deputy Chair, Chris Lewa, gave an overview of the Briefing paper: It's Time to Share Responsibility: The Rohingya Crisis Five Years On and RWG Advisor, Brian Barbour, presented key recommendations. APRRN’s Chair, Hafsar Tameesuddin, provided key perspectives and reflections on the Rohingya crisis, such as the need for re-framing the Rohingya narrative. A summary of 2022 activities, and potential focus areas and plans in 2023 was also presented. Participants were encouraged to put forward their priorities and challenges, with RLOs and local NGOs given priority to share amongst the group.
- 13th December: As part of 2022 Regional Humanitarian Partnership Week in Bangkok, Secretary General Chris Eades attended a panel discussion hosted by NGO Platform Cox’s Bazar titled 5 Years in the Rohingya Crisis - How Partnerships Works in Bangladesh. Focussed on promoting effective humanitarian partnerships in the context of the Rohingya crisis, the discussion included five representatives from the NGO community in Bangladesh, including local and national NGOs, as well as international NGOs working in the country including: BRAC, CARE Bangladesh, COAST Foundation, Friendship, Jago Nari Uannayon Sangsta and Save the Children International. On the same day, APRRN’s Secretary General joined UNHCR and DRC to present on CSO engagement with the Global Refugee Forum scheduled for December 2023.
- The APRRN/APNOR Refugee Skills Enhancement Course is halfway through its second module on organisational development and management. Participants have engaged in discussions on volunteer management; identifying different challenges that can occur in a community-based organisation and the role of disability and inclusion within the workforce. Participant feedback from the mid-course evaluation includes: "It's a great experience for me as a new learner. It's a very interesting and helpful course. And I hope in the future it will help to improve my skills." and "This course was very important to our organization, hope there will be a follow-up from APRRN for improvement. For our organisation, we need practice in the fundraising feasibility study." For further information please contact Zerrin Holle, the Project Coordinator at email@example.com.
- APRRN continues to update information and resources on Afghanistan via the microsite, APRRN Information on Afghanistan including: information on legal routes, employment opportunities, education, psychosocial services, and other support available to those in Afghanistan or abroad. Short-term job opportunities and migration news for Afghans in transit can also be found on APRRN’s corresponding Afghanistan Facebook page. APRRN continues to advocate to governments for increased legal pathways for Afghans. More detailed information on country-specific pathways will be made available in January 2023 at the launch of the Afghanistan Legal Pathways Project.
- APRRN congratulates Dr Gopal Krishna Siwakoti, former Chair of APRRN and President of INHURED International, who has been conferred with the prestigious award "Human Rights Hero-2022" in recognition of his relentless contribution to the field of human rights safeguards, both in the home constituency and beyond borders.
2nd December: Macquarie University and UNSW’s Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law released an interactive map detailing hotels prominent for being used as immigration detention across Australia, developing the first coast-to-coast visualisation of a practice that has served primarily behind curtains for two decades. The map identifies 34 hotels that have been used as Alternative Places of Detention (APODs) and visualises the data. The hotels identified on the map are former APODs, rather than sites that are currently in use. Read more here.
- 26th December: The Taliban have announced an indefinite ban on tertiary education for women. In response, Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee, the Norwegian Refugee Council and CARE stated they could not reach children effectively, women and men in desperate need in Afghanistan without the women in their workforces. Read more here.
- 13th December: Refugees International launched their Hope Amid Despair: Finding Solutions for Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh with recommendations for Bangladesh, the United States government, UN agencies and other donors on enhancing livelihoods, quality education and increasing resettlement spots while simultaneously increasing pressure on the military Junta regime to address the long-term cause of the crisis.
- 13th December: The U.S. has developed a resettlement programme for Rohingya refugees in collaboration with the government of Bangladesh and UNHCR as part of the global U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. 24 Rohingyas from Bangladesh have been resettled to the US, a first step towards the adoption of responsibility in sharing the Rohingya refugee crisis. Read more here.
- 6th December: The Hong Kong government has implemented an updated Removal Policy, whereby those seeking non-refoulement protection and those accessing the higher courts for judicial review may be removed before their applications are considered by the Court of Appeal or Court of Final Appeal. This is a significant shift from the prior policy, under which the Government would not take steps to remove individuals for the duration of high court proceedings. Justice Centre Hong Kong has provided a summarised version of the briefing paper for the refugee and asylum-seeking community. There was no consultation or notice of this policy change, and since receipt of the briefing paper, the Justice Centre has conducted community briefings with refugee leaders and the refugee support sector. The Justice Centre intends to mobilise and support community-led initiatives, provide legal assistance to those at imminent risk of removal without access to justice, and work with firms to consider strategic legal responses.
- 28th December: SUAKA (the Indonesian Civil Society Network on Refugee and Asylum Seeker Rights) issued a press release urging the Indonesian Government to urgently rescue Rohingya in distress at sea near Indonesian territorial waters. SUAKA later issued a joint statement with Amnesty International, Dompet Dhuafa, Kontras Aceh and Yayasan Geutanyoein in appreciation for the initial handling of Rohingya refugees in Aceh Besar.
- 29th December: Mixed Migration Centre launched a snapshot on Rohingya Refugees in Indonesia a focus on smuggling, information, and financing. The snapshot examines the experience of smuggling among Rohingya refugees en route to Indonesia, with the purpose of contributing to evidence-based advocacy efforts and protection responses for Rohingya refugees. The snapshot was produced under the Protecting Rohingya Refugees in Asia (PRRiA) project, a two-year ECHO-funded initiative launched in 2021 to address the protection risks and needs of Rohingya refugees in Southeast Asia.
- 13th December: In response to the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision to lift the stay of deportation of 114 people to Myanmar, Katrina Jorene Maliamauv (Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia) and Hui Ying (Executive Director of Asylum Access Malaysia) released a statement strongly urging the Kuala Lumpur High Court to reconsider its plan and halt decisions to deport Myanmar refugees to a dangerous situation. Read more here.
- 11th December: Youth Association for Development (YAD) implemented the Baluchistan Refugees Trauma Support Hub (RTSH) project in Quetta District, Pakistan. YAD organised an Art Competition and Exhibition on Afghan Refugee's Trauma, Mental Health and Psychological Problems with 116 paintings from Afghan Refugees and host community artists. The panel selected over 40 paintings for prizes and certificates. With more than 500 visitors, the exhibition included local cultural segments, creative games, Tablo, speeches on MHPSS and games. YAD also produced the first storytelling documentary in the history of Baluchistan titled Miserable Lives of Afghan Refugees in Baluchistan. More information can be found on their Youtube channel.
- 30th December: UNHCR Pakistan has expressed concerns over the arrest and detention of Afghan refugees in Pakistani cities and urged Pakistan and other countries neighbouring Afghanistan to respect the rights of refugees by continuing to help those seeking safety and protection. Read more here.
- 15th December: Fortify Rights sent an open letter to Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha expressing concerns with the proposed refugee-screening mechanism; particularly, that it would needlessly and arbitrarily exclude certain individuals from accessing protection in Thailand. “The National Screening Mechanism will only be effective if it can identify and protect all potential refugees in Thailand,” said Amy Smith, Executive Director at Fortify Rights. “The National Screening Mechanism could be a significant opportunity for Thailand to reverse its dismal record on refugee rights, but it will fall short of international standards and fail to achieve its purpose if it arbitrarily excludes categories of potential refugees.” Read more here.
- 22nd December: The Thai Government hosted a consultative meeting on the situation in Myanmar for interested ASEAN members. As the meeting was not an official ASEAN meeting, Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin was allowed to join the informal discussions with other colleagues, side-stepping the restriction imposed by the decision made in April 2021. Thailand’s initiative comes as the US Congress has upgraded its Burma Act 2022, to allow the US Government to provide non-lethal assistance to the National Unity Government, the People’s Defence Force and ethnic armed organisations. Read more here.
- A deterioration of security in Myanmar and Bangladesh camps saw a surge in dangerous boat journeys by Rohingya refugees as they attempt to reach Southeast Asian countries in hopes of finding food, education and employment. The UNHCR reported around 2,000 Rohingya have set sail from Bangladesh and Myanmar in the first 11 months of 2022 a dramatic increase from 287 in 2021. Read more here.
- 13th-14th December: UNDP, IOM and UN-Habitat hosted the Regional Dialogue on Human Mobility and Climate Change in Urban Context in the Asia Pacific held in Bangkok. The purpose of the event was to collate past/current scale and impact of human mobility linked to climate and environmental factors in the region, explore policy and programming options to prevent, monitor, adapt to and recover from displacement, and support migration as a positive adaptation strategy in urban contexts across the region. A summary report of the discussion will be launched, feeding into relevant multilateral proceedings throughout 2023.
- Transnational Figures of Displacement (TRAFIG) launched their third policy brief on a case of complementary pathways arguing that facilitating movement for forced migrants based on their human and social capital could become the key added value of complementary pathways. Although complementary pathways are often perceived as new legal pathways that need to be developed for refugees, thereby perpetuating the narrative of refugees seeking support while neglecting their human and social capital, various examples show that refugees do possess and use existing pathways, seeking individual solutions outside of the refugee regime, provide their resources and networks permit them to do so. Download the policy brief here.
- 13th December: Ahead of the creation of a new strategic direction for 2014-2027, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Regional Office for South-East Asia (SEARO) held consultations with CSOs to discuss and reflect on the regional human rights situation, OHCHR’s added value with regards to the future programme of work of the South-East Asia Regional Office and how to compliment the work of other stakeholders to collectively maximise impact.
- Settlement Services International (SSI), Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) and Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR) hosted a roundtable where refugee community representatives raised key protection concerns in Asia-Pacific and beyond with senior UNHCR leaders. UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Kelly Clements, Asia Bureau Director Indrika Ratwatte, and Regional Representative for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Adrian Edwards heard and responded to issues raised by 25 representatives from refugee-led networks and communities, NGOs and academia. SSI provided an opportunity for recently resettled refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine to share their perspectives on life in Australia with UNHCR leaders.
- 14th December: Antje Missbach an APRRN member and Wayne Palmer published an article titled Facilitated but unauthorised return: the role of smugglers in return migration and clandestine border crossings between Malaysia and Indonesia. The article examines the conditions by which migrants seek the services of smugglers to return from Malaysia to Indonesia, analysing 13 court verdicts and conducting eight interviews with law enforcement personnel responsible for arresting facilitators of unauthorised return migration (‘smugglers’).
- 5th December: The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) and the UNHCR launched a new joint paper on addressing statelessness through the rule of law. The event emphasises the importance of the rule of law to identify and protect stateless persons and prevent and reduce statelessness and raise awareness of the links between statelessness and development.
- 12th December: PHAP Association hosted their fifth meeting the Global Task Force on Migration (GTFM) on the theme of inclusion, sharing clear and tangible recommendations from municipalities on the frontline of receiving displaced populations and committed to creating inclusive communities. These recommendations included considerations on immediate emergency response and steps which can be taken early on to facilitate community recovery and longer-term local development. Furthermore, a discussion on how existing tools can help local authorities, such as the Effective Toolkit for Refugees, GTFM Reports, and the Lampedusa Charter. Watch here.
- 13th December: Canada an international leader in refugee resettlement, is expanding efforts to the development of labour complementary pathways, in addition to traditional resettlement, for refugees and their families to find a safe and permanent solution. In the coming years, with the collaboration of employers and communities, they aim to have 2,000 skilled refugees to occupy labour shortages in high-demanding sectors including healthcare and information technology. Read more here.
Development opportunities and tools
- The Kaldor Centre's Displaced Scholars Peer Mentoring Program aims to support early career scholars who have experienced displacement and are researching and/or studying in the field of refugee and forced migration studies to pursue their academic and professional goals. Displaced scholars frequently face considerable barriers to accessing traditional scholarly opportunities and fora due to financial constraints, interruption to education or limitations imposed by legal status. This Program aims to contribute to increasing the representation of refugees and other people with lived experiences of displacement within the field of refugee and forced migration studies, where there is a critical need to better understand and incorporate perspectives of displaced people. Applications for the 2023 program are now open to either become a mentee or a mentor. The deadline for application is 11th January 2023. Apply here.
- Survery: What is Aid to You? NEAR, a growing collective of local and national organisations working to improve the daily lives of their communities through humanitarian response, peacebuilding, and development has launched a survey that will be able to anchor its views and understanding of what Aid in the Global South should look like in the future. NEAR will use these survey responses to inform a discussion paper published early in 2023. The survey should take approximately 5-10 minutes. Click here to complete 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. Anyone who 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 is here.
The Human Rights Defender Advocacy Programme (HRDAP) is open for applications. The programme will take place both remotely and in Geneva for the first time starting April 2023. Such defenders may include migrant rights defenders and minority rights defenders. Deadline: 10 January 2023. Read more here.
UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women is inviting proposals for multi-year grants up to USD 1 million. This year’s Call includes a special focus to end violence against women and girls in the context of protracted crises, to support organizations working in these settings. Priority given to women’s rights organizations, women-led organizations, constituent-led and grassroots women’s organizations. Deadline: 11 January 2023. Read more here.
The Front Line Defenders Award is intended for HRDs for whom visibility can contribute to their security and who have not already had a lot of international recognition for their human rights work. Nominees should be active human rights defenders and if in exile, only nominations of HRDs still at risk will be eligible. Deadline: 13 January 2023. Read more here.
(i) For organisations in Afghanistan: Institutional funding (2,500 USD - 30,000 USD) and Programmatic funding (30,000 USD - 200,000 USD). Deadline: 6 February 2023.
(ii) For individual women human rights defenders: An Advocacy Support Stream and a Safety Net Stream. For the advocacy support stream, proposals should ideally be submitted at least 6 weeks before the event takes place. No deadline (rolling).
(iii) CSO Short Term Grants Stream ($100,000) for urgent projects addressing barriers to women’s meaningful participation in a formal peace process or implementation of a peace agreement. No deadline (rolling).
Edward M. Kennedy (EMK) Center is accepting project proposals that strengthen, expand, and celebrate U.S.- Bangladesh people-to-people ties, foster innovative ideas, and provide local solutions to complex social problems. Applications are accepted from individuals, groups and registered nonprofits. Projects must start by 1 March 2023 latest and be completed by 30 September 2023. Grant Size: approx. $1000 to $10,000. Deadline: January 14 2023. More info here.
Rafto Prize is awarded to human rights defenders worldwide - a recognition to those who fight against oppression. Candidates may be an individual or an organisation. Award prize: $20,000. Deadline: 1 February 2023. Nominate here.
European Commission: Thematic Framework Partnerships for Human Rights and Democracy is seeking applications regarding the following thematic areas: Abolishing the death penalty (Lot 1), Protecting Freedoms of Association and of Peaceful Assembly (Lot 2), and Protecting independent media (Lot 3). Lot 2 has a particular focus on youth activists, youth-led organisations and youth-focused organisations. Location: Worldwide. Grant size: minimum 2,000,000 EUROS. Deadline 27 February 2023. Read more here.
International Peace Research Association Foundation (IPRAF) is offering Peace Research Grants for scholars around the world including India, Iran, Iraq, Philippines and the United States to support rigorous investigation into the causes of conflict and examination of alternatives to violence. Previous grantees are not eligible. Deadline: 28 February 2023. Grant size not available. Read more here.
The U.S. Embassy Dhaka Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) is accepting program proposals that strengthen, expand, and celebrate U.S.-Bangladesh people-to-people ties, institutional linkages, and bilateral cooperation. For example: seminars, speaker programs, capacity-building workshops, exchanges and English language programs. All programs must include an U.S. cultural element, or connection with U.S. experts, organizations or institutions. Award size $20,000 - $75,000. Deadlines are 31 March 2023 and 30 June 2023. Read more here.
The Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund provides rapid, flexible funding and direct logistical support to individual women human rights defenders from/working in crisis and conflict-affected areas, working at community, national, regional and/or international levels.
If you would like to apply to one of these funds in partnership with APRRN, please reach out to Victoria at firstname.lastname@example.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.
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