News Briefs (March 2023)
Our News Briefs bring 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.
We are pleased to announce Regional Consultations between NGOs and UNHCR will be held on 14 and 15 June 2023. Co-organised by APRRN, the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific of UNHCR, the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), and the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR), the theme will be: 'Promoting Inclusion for Sustainable Solutions'. We are aiming at a hybrid format (in-person in Bangkok and virtual) with virtual side events organized the weeks before on specific themes. More details will be shared in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please fill in this survey by the end of day 12 April 2023 if your organization is interested in participating. Contact Lars at email@example.com with any questions.
We have officially completed the APRRN/APNOR Skills Enhancement Training for RLI/Os!
During Module 3, participants spent two weeks focused on monitoring and evaluation (M&E), and case management (with guest facilitators from Justice Center Hong Kong and St. Andrew’s Refugee Services (Egypt)), needs assessments, problem tree analysis, grant fundraising, external communication and strategic engagement. Participants also received individualised on developing M&E tools, planning, and/or organizational goal-setting. A full report of the training will be published soon. For more info contact Zerrin Holle, Project Coordinator : firstname.lastname@example.org.
12th March: The Chair of the Rohingya Working Group, Lilliane Fan, was interviewed by AWANI Global, a Malaysia media platform, where she highlighted a fire that broke out in Cox’s Bazar refugee camp. The interview also covered the cut in World Food Programme (WFP) funding, statelessness, the need for longer-term solutions, the need for a regional protection framework, and the role of ASEAN and Malaysia. Watch interview here.
Please welcome APRRN's new member, New Myanmar Foundation (NMF)! NMF was founded in 2008 by a group of concerned citizens to “contribute to the development of Myanmar by strengthening the capacity of citizens and promoting democratic governance”. NMF, provides basic necessities, educational opportunities and psychosocial support to people at risk in and from Myanmar.
Got 10 minutes? Give your feedback on Co-Leadership in APRRN.
The Secretariat is seeking member feedback and suggestions on APRRN's transition to a new co-leadership structure of two Co-Secretary Generals (Co-SGs), one of whom will have lived experience of forced displacement. Please complete the Google form via this link by Wednesday 12 April. Participation is anonymous, takes 10 minutes, and more than one person per organisation can respond. Your inputs will inform APRRN's support, communications, and plans as we move through this process of change and help prioritize effective co-leadership in APRRN.Click here to read more.
From APRRN Members
2nd March: Asia Displacement Solutions Platform (ADSP), UNHCR and IOM co-hosted a Webinar: Rohingya Situation and the Public Narrative, which facilitated exchange on the trends, digital evolutions, lessons learned and developing practices in regards to misinformation, disinformation and hate speech (MDH) within the Rohingya context.
17th March: The 2023 Tasweer Photo Festival Qatar showcased the award-winning photography of Omal Khair, Dil Kayas, and Azimul Hasson who are authors of A Chance to Breathe, a book of exclusive photography and poetry published by FotoEvidence with the support of Doha Debates and Fortify Rights. The show is open until 20th May 2023. Read more here.
17th March: Refugee Solidarity Network conducted a virtual event on decolonial practices and the protection of refugees with a focus on positive practices for refugee protection in South and Southeast Asia. Speakers reflected on the challenges and opportunities for realizing human rights posed by colonial-era laws and legal work in countries which are neither parties to the 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees nor its 1967 Protocol. Watch here.
20th March: The Refugee Council of Australia helped launch the first-ever Parliamentary Friends of Refugees Group formed in the hopes of creating a country that is more welcoming to refugees. The group will help inform other Parliamentarians about the situation facing refugees and people seeking asylum and promote fairer, more welcoming policies for those who seek protection in Australia. Read more here.
16th March: Australia’s Department of Home Affairs stated anyone in Afghanistan not considered a "priority" will have their applications denied, citing the lack of facilities in Afghanistan for conducting visa interviews and conducting biometric tests to confirm an applicant's identity. Read more here.
1st March: Rohingya community-based organizations from Cox Bazar’s refugee camps released a statement of concern on the recent decisions made by the World Food Programme (WFP) in Cox’s Bazar to cut food rations for Rohingya beneficiaries. The cut could have devastating implications for child labour, human trafficking, prostitution, and a hostile environment. Read more here.
7th March: UNHCR has launched the 2023 Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis, calling for $876 million to reach 1.47 million people. The Plan is a collaboration between 116 partners, about half of whom are national organizations from Bangladesh. The Plan intends to provide basic necessities, such as food and shelter, to some 978,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and on the island of Bhasan Char, as well as 495,000 Bangladeshis in neighbouring communities. Read more here.
25th March: A revised law in Hong Kong has escalated fear among the estimated 14,800 asylum seekers and refugees who live in the city. Introduced in December 2022, the new policy allows immigration authorities to dismiss unsuccessful claimants from the city before they can exhaust legal pathways to challenge the decision. The Government states the shift was necessary to crack down on claimants abusing the judicial review process to prolong their stay in Hong Kong. Human rights lawyers allege the changes infringe on the rights of people seeking asylum. Meanwhile, NGOs and community leaders say they are seeing a surge in the number of claimants seeking psychological support. Watch here.
13th March: Human Rights Watch released a statement urging The UN Security Council to build on its December 2022 resolution on Myanmar by adopting tangible measures to hold the junta accountable for ongoing abuses. The council conducted a session on Myanmar where Noeleen Heyzer, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Myanmar, and Retno Marsudi, Indonesia’s foreign minister and head of the ASEAN office of the Special Envoy on Myanmar presented a report. Read more here.
15th March: UNHCR has deemed Myanmar’s Rohingya repatriation programme unsafe as the conditions in Rakhine state were not favourable for the safe return of 1,000 Rohingya from Bangladesh whom Myanmar wants to repatriate under a China-mediated program. Activists claim the repatriation programme is for Junta to “look good in the international community” rather than for sustainable voluntary repatriation of over one million refugees. Read more here.
19th March: Following the accusations of facilitating the Junta repatriation programme, UNHCR released a statement denying any involvement in those discussions. UNHCR is aware of the visit of a Myanmar delegation to Bangladesh to meet with a group of refugees on a bilateral pilot project between the two countries on possible returns.
2nd March: Vitit Muntarbhorn a law professor at Chulalongkorn University published an op-ed on the Thai Government’s unbalanced response towards persons who seek refuge, or “refugees”, following the death of an Uyghur man in immigration detention. Vitit argues that keeping a person seeking refuge in detention unjustly might equate to torture violating the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act, with resultant accountability.
8th March: Prominent Afghan and Iranian women figures are endorsing a campaign calling for gender apartheid to be identified as a crime under international law. The authors of the letter argue that the legal definition of apartheid as a crime against humanity, adopted by the UN in 1973 and supported by the 1998 Rome Statute, does not as currently interpreted fit the case of Afghanistan and Iran, even if the descriptive term does. Read more here.
Tools & Support
These recommendations highlight the critical role migrant women human rights defenders play in securing the rights of people on the move. They are a call to action to all stakeholders to recognize and address the risks facing migrant women human rights defenders and put in place measures to promote and protect human rights unhindered so that migrants in all their diversity can live, work, and move safely and with dignity. Read more here.
In case you missed it! 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) France, India, Ireland, Italy, UK and the US. The information sheets include options for visa schemes, asylum and family reunification procedures, professional visas, and student visas. Access them on the APRRN Information on Afghanistan microsite. Please give us feedback by completing the form in English or Dari. Many thanks for your help!
The CERC Civil Society & Public Administration Fellowship program is calling for proposals from practitioners, civil society organizations or government bodies who have international experience working in the field of migration or immigrant integration and inclusion to apply to participate in a one-month residency at Toronto Metropolitan University.
The resident is between October 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024, for a consecutive period of 20 to 35 days. The fellowship includes a stipend, travel allowance and access to office space and accommodation. Deadline: 1st May 2023. Read more here.
The Asia Foundation - The William P. Fuller Fellowship in Peacebuilding supports the professional development of the next generation of leaders (persons under 40 years old) committed to addressing conflict and peacebuilding in the Asia Pacific. Fellows may stay in their jobs but also gain in-depth skill-building, professional development, exposure, and support for their work. Fuller Fellows are early or mid-career professionals (minimum 3 years experience) actively working to promote peace through research, advocacy, policymaking, or other realms bridging knowledge and implementation. $5,000 USD grant available. Three fellows per year. Must be able to travel to in-person program events. Deadline: 15 May 2023.
Canadian & U.S. Goverment funding
The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) is inviting applications for small-scale, high-impact projects that are designed predominantly by local partners. Non-registered organisations require a fiscal sponsor.
- Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Average grant $15,000 to $35,000 CAD. Priorities include: inclusive governance (diversity, democracy, human rights, the rule of law), peace and security, and gender equality. Deadline: 10 April 2023.
- Bangladesh. Average grant $15,000 to $50,000 CAD. Priorities include: inclusive governance (diversity and 2SLGBTQI+, democracy, human rights, the rule of law), and peace and security. Deadline: 23 April 2023.
- Malaysia. Average grant $10,000 - $30,000. Priorities include: inclusive governance (2SLGBTQI+, democracy, human rights, indigenous communities, the rule of law), peace and security, gender equality, and human dignity (health, education, nutrition). Deadline: 30 April 2023.
US Bureau of Population Refugees and Migration is accepting proposals for NGO Programs Supporting Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Thailand, Bangladesh and India. Specific priority areas and grant sizes for each country are outlined in the full notice of funding opportunity (NOFO). Minimum grant amounts vary significantly depending on project focus from $250,000 per year to $1,000,000 and over, per year. Deadline: 17 April 2023.
The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) is accepting proposals from non-profit organisations on Improving Workers Rights, Strengthening Independent Media, and Expanding Civic Participation in Pakistan. Amount: $1,250,000 - $1,500,000. Project Duration: 24 months. Deadline: 24 April 2023.
European Commission (Thailand)
Advancing People Rights for Sustainable Development and Inequality Reduction in Thailand. The objective of this call for proposals is to increase capacities and help establish an enabling environment for Thai civil society organisations to: i. promote and protect labour rights and promote a safe working environment for all workers for decent work and economic growth, ii. reduce inequality through enhancing access to equal rights in social, economic and civic life of the most marginalised populations. LOT 2 (Actions to promote other Fundamental Rights) includes forcibly displaced people, women's rights, gender-based violence, education, financial services, employment, UPR review and digitalisation. Amount: EUR 500,000-570,000 - requires at least 5% co funding. Duration: 2-3 years. Deadline 10 April 2023.
Civil Society Organisations: Enhancing CSOs' Contribution to Governance and Development Processes. Priorities include: (1) Enhancing the voice of women and girls and/or youth to better engage in social, economic and environmental policy making and implementation. (2) Improving access to quality and affordable State services (e.g. health, education, social welfare, social protection) for marginalised populations. Amount: EUR 750,000 - 1,000,000 (depending on location) - requires at least 10% co funding. Duration: 3-4 years. Deadline 10 April 2023.
The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy is accepting proposals on strengthening democracy and human rights in Taiwan and Northeast/Southeast Asia. Project categories include: advocacy, research, conferences, publications and education. The majority of grants are between US$3,000 and US$20,000. Deadline: 15 April 2023.
French Development Agency (AFD) is inviting expressions of interest from associations or NGOs from ODA-recipient countries. Locally governed CSOs are eligible as long as they have been financed at least once for a completed project (either directly or via a French CSO) by an entity of the AFD Group. Priority areas: achievement of the SDGs, especially gender equality, feminist CSOs, youth empowerment, and climate change. Minimum grant: 500,000 EURO. Deadline: 15 May 2023.
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