News Briefs (January 2023)
Happy New Year APRRN Friends! Our new-look Monthly Briefs brings you the latest highlights from the advocacy efforts of APRRN and our members, as well as keeping you informed on upcoming events and activities. We strive to provide regular updates on the network’s activities and developments in the refugee protection sphere, alongside the emerging political climate in the Asia Pacific region. We welcome contributions from members! Please share your updates, information, or resources with Sharon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- APRRN released a statement urgently calling on the Bali Process Co-Chairs - Indonesia and Australia - to strengthen regional mechanisms, including activating the Bali Process Consultation Mechanism when boats are in distress at sea. APRRN calls on States to consider how best to secure predictable and rights-respecting, responsibility-sharing arrangements, ensuring that States respect their international obligations to collectively deploy immediate lifesaving search and rescue missions, facilitate safe disembarkation, access to territory and international protection for those in need, and provide humanitarian assistance and medical treatment where required. Read full statement.
- 2nd January: APRRN’s Deputy Chair, Sitarah Mohammadi, spoke to The Australian on the Taliban’s recent ban on access to tertiary education for women in Afghanistan. Sitarah said the news was rightly focused on the erosion of women’s rights but she fears a repeat of the execution and violence suffered by ethnic minorities under the Taliban’s previous regime. Sitarah stated: “the way they conduct the network itself is very strategic but the ideology of the Taliban has not changed… it remains as conservative and extremist as it was 25 years ago”. Read more here (subscription required) and on Twitter here.
- 16th January: APRRN, PILnet, the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR) and AMERA International have launched a series of legal information sheets in English and Dari for Afghans seeking legal assistance in - or relocation to - a number of countries. Read more on the APRRN Information on Afghanistan microsite.
- 24th January: APRRN chaired a Diplomats Briefing in Bangkok on the National Screening Mechanism (NSM), the Anti Torture Act incl. Section 13, Myanmar displacement on the border and Maritime movements, indefinite detention of vulnerable populations and Rohingya. 25 diplomatic representatives were in attendance.
- 30th January: APRRN conducted a one-hour session on the second Global Refugee Forum (GRF II) looking at the progress made in the Asia Pacific following the first GRF, and opportunities for engagement for GRF II.
- APRRN’s Rohingya Working Group Chair, Lilianne Fan, and Deputy Chair, Chris Lewa, continue to be engaged in extensive advocacy in international and national media as well as directly with the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia during the rise in boat crossings in late 2022. According to UNHCR’s report ‘Protection at Sea in South East Asia - 2022 in Review’, reported attempted sea journeys by Rohingya increased by 360% during 2022. Read more here.
Announcements + Shifts in Priorities
- Current Secretary General, Chris Eades, will leave APRRN on 17 February 2023. From 20 February, Lars Stenger, the Secretariat's Head of Programs, will take over as Interim Secretary General for a period of two months.
- APRRN's current Chair, Hafsar Tameesuddin, will be stepping back from her role for a couple of months. APRRN's current Deputy Chair, Sitarah Mohammadi, will be filling in for Hafsar in her absence. David Keegan, APRRN's Chair of the Regional Protection Working Group, will step up to Deputy Chair of APRRN during this period.
- APRRN has officially welcomed a team of three organisational development consultants who will work towards an organisational structural review and creating APRRN’s new strategic plan ahead of the 9th Asia Pacific Consultation on Refugee Rights (APCRR) this September.
- Recruitment for the co-Secretaries General positions is progressing well and we expect to have new leadership in post in April. More news to follow!
To kick off our new Monthly Member Spotlight, we're excited to share about one of our newest members - Rohingya Human Rights Network!
Based in Canada, the Rohingya Human Rights Network is a collective of Rohingya activists and writers raising awareness of the plight of the Rohingya through policy advocacy, writing, petitions and events, in collaboration with other civil society organisations. Their petitions have garnered more than 80,000 signatures and they have actively pushed for the declaration of genocide by the Canadian government.
- 5th January: The Asia Displacement Solutions Platform (ADSP) hosted a Virtual Ad Hoc Meeting of the Regional Rohingya Advocacy Roundtable/Forum to discuss Maritime Movements and Distressed Boats. Participants exchanged updates regarding recent boat movements and shared regional government responses and national-level advocacy plans.
- 15th January: In a Jakarta Post article, SUAKA Executive Director, Atika Yuanita Paraswaty, said that “it should be lauded that the people of Aceh [Indonesia] had been relatively welcoming to the Rohingya refugees who had landed in the province [and]...while a 2016 presidential regulation facilitated Indonesia’s treatment of refugee arrivals, more needed to be done.”
- 24th January: Fortify Rights and 16 individual complainants from Myanmar filed a criminal complaint with the Federal Public Prosecutor General of Germany under the principle of universal jurisdiction against senior Myanmar military generals and others for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
- The 215-page complaint, together with over 1,000 pages of annexes, provides evidence to assist the Office of the Federal Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the Rohingya genocide, as well as atrocity crimes since the military junta’s coup d’état launched in 2021. Read more here. Watch Fortify Rights’ powerful six-minute documentary on Thai Authorities’ Pushbacks to Myanmar here.
- 26th January: Asean Parliamentarians For Human Rights (APHR) urge the Thai government to stop engaging with the Myanmar junta, led by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, as it continues committing atrocities against its own population. Charles Santiago, Co-Chairperson of APHR, stated “No ASEAN member state should have ‘friendly ties’ with a military that has turned Myanmar into a centre of instability which is threatening the whole region”. Read more here.
- 19th January: Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry’s Director of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, noted: “In the future, it is necessary to have regional cooperation on rescue operations, a task not only for Indonesia but also countries in the region.”
- 28th January: New Zealand expects to meet its quota of resettling 1,500 refugees this year. New Zealand is on track to achieve this goal, with figures from Immigration New Zealand showing 745 people have been resettled under the refugee quota for the year from July 1st. Read more.
- 17th January: Partners of the ‘Protecting Rohingya Refugees in Asia’ (PRRiA) Project held the Virtual Launch of the Report: “Refugee protection, human smuggling, and trafficking in South and Southeast Asia.” The report critically assesses the risks and needs of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and Southeast Asia across three themes: protection, human trafficking, and human smuggling. The research draws from three national contexts: Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Lilianne Fan, Director of Geutanyoë Malaysia and APRRN’s Rohingya Working Group Chair, presented insights and recommendations during the event.
- 17th January: According to the latest data from UNHCR, more than 3,500 Rohingya attempted deadly sea crossings on 39 boats in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal in 2022. This is a 360 per cent increase on the previous year when around 700 people made similar journeys. In response to the crisis in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, the Bali Process (a forum for policy dialogue, information sharing and cooperation to address people smuggling, human trafficking and related transnational crime) will hold its 8th Ministerial meeting in February. Read more here.
- 24th January: ICVA conducted a hybrid discussion with UNHCR on the recently released Evaluation of UNHCR’s Repatriation Programmes and Activities 2015–2021. Through this exchange, participants discussed the evaluation findings and implications, and proposed ways forward.
Tools & Support
- APRRN Member, Rohingya Students’ Union (RSU) are putting together an urgent funding appeal to raise funds to provide winter clothing and basic materials for 100 individuals in need ahead of the winter months in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Please support by sharing amongst your networks. Further details are here or please contact Alom Shah: email@example.com, WhatsApp: +88 (0)18 6012 1063.
- 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 and digital capacities, heightened privacy concerns, and language barriers. Through this app, M.A.P aims to facilitate linkages to hyperlocal support structures, especially to NGOs, paralegal volunteers, government clinics, police stations, legal aid centres, and government helplines. Download here.
- Settlement Services International is currently calling for applicants in Western Sydney and the Illawarra with lived experience of forced displacement to join their Refugee Employment Support Programme (RESP). RESP is for persons 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. Full description.
- 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.
- Echoing Green’s 2023 Fellowship to help build and shift power in communities is open for application. This Fellowship is for people whose enterprises are at an early stage and who are experts on the challenge they’ve chosen to confront. We seek leaders who reflect the community they serve and bring deep knowledge of the issues into their work as they co-design solutions with and for their communities. Eligibility: All countries. Deadline: 7 February 2023. Read more 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.
- Refugees International Fellows Program will equip and elevate the voices and perspectives of refugee leaders in global advocacy. Fellowships will be offered to four to five leaders with lived experience and expertise of displacement from geographically diverse areas of the globe. Fellows will be emerging leaders in the refugee advocacy community and will partner with Refugees International during a one-year term to advance the rights and safety of displaced people around the world. Fellows will receive a $15,000 grant in four quarterly installments of $3,750 throughout the year. English language competency is preferred. Deadline: 28 February 2023. Read more here.
CS Fund has launched a new funding program on "Just Transitions" to advance social and ecological justice. Geography: includes South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka). Amount: $30-$100k per year. Organizations may apply with a fiscal sponsor. Must have an explicit anti-racist and/or anti-casteist focus. Deadline: 1 March 2023. Read more here.
- U.S. Embassy - Republic of Korea has announced funding via its Public Diplomacy Small Grants Program to strengthen ties between the US and the Republic of Korea through programming that highlights shared values and promotes bilateral cooperation. There are four programs and Program 1 focuses on the capacity development of organisations (mission, fundraising, finance, advocacy, M&E, and public engagement). Max. grant: $100,000. Deadline: 17 March 2023. Read more here.
- US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) has launched a global call for proposals on "Leveraging Intersectionality to Ensure Zero Obstruction to Women’s Empowerment". Proposals should focus on women from marginalized communities who face discrimination, violence and significant barriers to exercising their human rights. The two objectives of the call include strengthening the capacity of CSOs and creating shared impact through advocacy by CSOs to promote women's empowerment. Amount: $1,000,000. Deadline: 22 March 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.
(i) 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).
(ii) 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)
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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