Biweekly Briefs (February 2022)
The following brief details highlights of advocacy efforts undertaken by APRRN and partners over the past two weeks, 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
MESSAGE FROM APRRN
APRRN would like to heartily congratulate Tanma Federation and the amazing women behind the federation for receiving the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency Innovation Award 2022! For more than a decade, Tanma has provided refugee women in Malaysia safe spaces to build solidarity, upskill, generate income, support their mental health needs, and provide education and care for their children.
"We, Tanma women, are happy and excited about receiving this award! Tanma started 10 years ago with the idea of improving refugee women living conditions in Malaysia.
We had almost no connections and no resources to show the public our beautiful handmade creations. That is why we decided to work together and create Tanma, which in Burmese language means "strong". This award represents to us a proof of how strong refugee women can become when we work together. We have still many dreams to fulfil and this award encourages us to keep working harder. We hope that this may inspire others who are struggling right now, for them to know that it is possible!" - Tanma Federation
- 17 February: Evan Jones (Asia Displacement Solutions Platform) wrote an op-ed for TRT World entitled ‘The world needs to step up support for Afghan refugee education in Pakistan’ which explored refugee education as an essential contributing factor to the development of Afghan refugees both in Pakistan and their homeland Afghanistan in the future.
- 8 February: Sitarah Mohammadi (Co-Chair of APRRN) and Paul Power (Refugee Council of Australia) were featured on Australia's ABC radio to talk about Afghan refugees’ demonstration outside the Australian parliament, which occurred on the same day, to protest the uncertainty surrounding the country’s temporary visa scheme.
- 18 February: Sitarah Mohammadi (Deputy Chair of APRRN) and Sajjad Askary (Deputy Chair of the Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Working Group) wrote an op-ed for the Canberra Times on the need for Australia to give permanent protection for Hazara refugees residing in the country. The article also highlighted the contributions that the Hazaras have made to Australia, ranging from effective community initiatives to establishing successful businesses.
- 15 February: APRRN released an urgent statement calling on the government of Malaysia to comply with international law and cease deportation proceedings against UNHCR-recognised refugee Mohammed Khairuzzaman.
- 21 February: Lilliane Fan (Chair of the Rohingya Working Group) and Glorene A. Das (Tenaganita) commented on a recent report that two Myanmar children died after eating out of the trash in Langkawi. Both highlighted the Malaysian government's obligations towards refugee children, as a member of the UN and the Human Rights Council Fan pointed out that problems faced by refugee children such as poor nutrition, poor health and difficulty in gaining access to education are rooted in poverty and lack of documentation.
- 18 February: APRRN’s Programme Officer, Rachel Tan, took part as one of the panellists in a discussion on 'Understanding Vulnerabilities and Ensuring Human Rights of Refugees in Asia-Pacific' that was organised by ActionAid India. APRRN members Philippines Arab Cooperation Council Inc and Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University were also part of the panellist team. Additionally, Nimo Adam Ahmed (Sisterhood Community Centre), who participated in APRRN’s Short Course last year was also one of the speakers at the event. The panel discussed the vulnerabilities that refugees and displaced people face in the Asia Pacific region, the legislative and policy framework regarding refugee rights, the changes required in current international legislations, and more.
- Gül İnanç (Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies) co-wrote a book on a comprehensive survey of the dynamics of conflict, climate-induced forced displacement and organisational response across Asia and the Pacific.
- The Unheard Journalism Project released two issues consisting of collections of poems, essays, videos, and artwork from refugees. The Unheard Journalism Project is an initiative of Borderless360 in which they invite refugee journalists, artists, and musicians to contribute all kinds of literary work (e.g. poetry, short fiction) as well as journalism pieces, videos, artwork and essays. Read Issue 1 here and Issue 2 here.
- APRRN individual member, Dr. Priyanca Mathur, wrote two publications on ‘Forced Migration Trends in the Asia Pacific’ and ‘Bridging the Gap - Response of Civil Society Organisations Towards the Stranded Migrant Labourers in COVID-19 Lockdown: A Study of Bengaluru, India’.
- 17 February: APRRN and the International Tamil Refugee Advocacy Network (I-TRAN) were mentioned in this article on Novara Media which discussed the UK government’s negligence of 89 Tamil refugees that they left on a remote island for five months.
On the radar
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Art exhibition: The Resilience Development Initiative is inviting refugee and asylum seeker artists to exhibit art at the ‘Let’s Walk My Journey’ hybrid art exhibition. This art exhibition aims to encourage the meaningful participation of asylum seekers and refugees. Interested applicants can fill out the form here and the deadline is 3 April.
From the secretariat
APRRN is seeking a dedicated person to join the network as our new Membership Support and Communications Officer. The role will provide support to APRRN and its diverse membership, including: relationship building with potential members, especially refugee-led initiatives; manage APRRN's membership database; act as the primary focal point for maintaining all APRRN communications channels; collaborate with the Secretariat and APRRN members to produce communications material for publications; and support the coordination of APRRN workshops, trainings, consultations, and meetings as required. Applications close on 31 March at 18:00 Bangkok time. Learn more about the full job description here.
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.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Keep up to date with our work and the work of our members in this region