News Briefs (April 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.
24th April: APRRN is pleased to start the secretariat's transition to a Co-Leadership model including lived experience at its highest position. We welcome our new Co-Secretary Generals Hafsar Tameesuddin in New Zealand and Klaus Dik Nielsen in Thailand!
Hafsar and Klaus bring a strong and demonstrated commitment to the principles of collaboration and inclusion, along with an ability to identify strategic targets. Together they bring significant experience in fundraising, project coordination, policy and advocacy and campaigning. We are confident that they bring the right balance between listening and pushing forward towards our new strategic targets. Stay tuned for a short video introducing our new SGs!
24th April: The Coalition for the Rights of Refugees and Stateless Persons (CRSP) and Migrant Working Group (MWG) released a statement on the death of Mr Mattohti Mattursun, the second Uyyghur man to die in Thai immigration detention. CRSP and MWG urge the Royal Thai Government to publicly confirm his death, share the medical autopsy, and investigate the death in custody. The Thai version of the statement is here. World Uyghur Congress also released a statement on the tragic death, with multiple news outlets covering the story.
Youth Summit: Want to connect and network with other youth advocates? Interested in discussing advocacy for change for refugee youth? APRRN’s Youth Working Group is planning a youth summit later this year, bringing together all #YouthAdvocates! To help curate the event, a short survey has been circulated to hear what youth advocates would like to see, have and be part of in this #YouthSummit.
The Secretariat solicited anonymous member feedback and suggestions on APRRN's transition to a new co-leadership structure of two Co-Secretary Generals (Co-SGs). A Google form was circulated to all members on 4th April. The responses will be analysed and used to inform APRRN's support, communications, and plans as we move through this process of change and help prioritise effective co-leadership in APRRN. APRRN members and partners will be invited to provide input and feedback on the proposed new strategy in the months to come. If you would like to find out more please contact Victoria at email@example.com.
APRRN’s Steering Committee is meeting in Bangkok from 8-10 May 2023 for a three-day Strategic Meeting. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this will be the Steering Committee’s first in-person meeting since July 2019. The meeting will discuss and propose APRRN’s new strategy for 2023-2028 and review APRRN’s governance structure. The Steering Committee will make a recommendation to the General Assembly during the Asia Pacific Consultation on Refugee Rights (APCRR) in September seeking the adoption of a new strategy and structure that allows APRRN to be responsive and effective in furthering refugee rights while maintaining a close connection with our membership. APRRN members and partners will be invited to provide input and feedback on the proposed new strategy in the months to come.
4th April: APRRN released a statement urging the Japanese government to withdraw the amendment bill to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (ICRRA) in its current form. We call on the Government of Japan to show clear leadership to ensure international protection and full respect for people's human rights and fundamental freedoms for people on the move. Japanese version here.
8th April: In an interview with The National, Chris Lewa, Deputy Chair of the Rohingya Working Group and co-ordinator of The Arakan Project, highlighted the 150,000 displaced Rohingyas from 2012 who are still in “internment camps” in Central Rhakine 10 years on. Chris stated: “the armed conflict between the Arakan Army and the Myanmar Armed Forces could resume any time, and the Rohingya still residing in Rakhine were trapped between the two warring parties when clashes occurred."
Congratulation to Migration and Asylum Project (M.A.P) for celebrating its 10th anniversary at an event on 14th April 2023. M.A.P is India’s first devoted law centre for forced migration and displacement.
Started in 2013, M.A.P. seeks to end the marginalisation of one of the most vulnerable communities in the world - migrants and refugees – by making the Rule of Law central to addressing human rights challenges and ensuring grassroots justice. M.A.P. created a short video on their exhibition, Memories of My Homeland. Watch the film here.
From our Members
4th April: The Refugee Council of Australia hosted a webinar on “Growing Australia’s Role in Global Refugee Resettlement”. Key points of discussion include the Australian Labor Party's commitment to providing 32,000 refugee places a year; taking the refugee and humanitarian intake to 27,000 places and expanding community sponsorship to 5,000 additional places. There is still no time frame for this commitment and the Labor Government is urged to act decisively to implement this commitment before their current term ends in 2025.
6th April: Fortify Rights conducted a Thai Political Party Roundtable on Policy Surrounding Refugees and Migrant Workers. The discussion surrounded Thailand’s treatment of refugees and migrant workers with representatives from many of the main political parties standing for election this year.
10th April: People's Empowerment Foundation (PEF) released a statement upon the death of three People's Defense Force fighters, as Thai authorities handed them over to junta authorities on the way to Myanmar. PEF's statement covers opinions, observations, and opinions from the clarification documents by "the Threat Evaluation Division of the National Security Council" regarding their deportation.
27-28th April: The Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies (CAPRS) at the University of Auckland and the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney conducted a virtual research symposium on ‘Meeting the ‘Dual Imperative’: Working towards solutions for displacement in the Asia Pacific through policy-oriented research’. The symposium will present research findings and policy recommendations of scholars working on protection issues in the region and prompt discussion as to how this research can influence policy and practices.
20th April: The Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh, Masud Bin Momen, travelled to Kunming for talks with representatives from China and Myanmar about the repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. An unnamed diplomatic source reportedly said there are plans to repatriate an initial 1,000 Rohingya refugees before the approaching monsoon season. Read more here.
13th April: As xenophobic campaigns on social media in Malaysia increase, human rights group, Lawyers for Liberty, released a statement urging the Government to take a stance. The group cites "There is a risk that if this sentiment is not quelled, they will face real threats of harm by people who mistakenly view them as threats to Malaysian society,".
19th April: Over 50 Rohingya community members were evicted from their homes of over 10 years in Penang. UNHCR commented, "This tragedy was completely avoidable with dialogue and understanding. These refugees are the unfortunate victims of ignorance and intolerance," it added.
19th April: Japan granted refugee status to a Ugandan lesbian after a court overturned a deportation order on the grounds she could be persecuted in Uganda on account of her sexual orientation. Last month, the Japanese Immigration Services Agency issued its first guidelines on eligibility for refugee status, which included ‘sexual minorities’ as groups that may be subject to persecution. Uganda recently passed legislation that makes homosexual acts a crime potentially punishable by death.
20th April: The Government of Nepal is working to include refugees in their registration system. The Director of the Department of National ID and Civil Registration stated the current law is being amended to implement this change. APRRN member INHURED International welcomed the proposal stating registering refugees will ensure that that “they are under the state’s purview.” said Gopal Siwakoti, chair of INHURED. Registration and identity cards are within their right under the constitution. Read more here.
5th April: The Deputy National Police Chief of Thailand, the Immigration Bureau, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNHCR, and the US Embassy assembled a high-level meeting in Bangkok, to discuss resettlement options for Christian Chinese asylum-seekers. Following the meeting, 59 of the 63 detainees travelled to the United States. The remaining four families will migrate to the United States after the birth of their children. The Chinese Government has not commented on or challenged this decision. Read more here.
14th April: An article by Fortify Rights reports on the Thai Police's violation of Thai and International Law of Refoulment, after the forced return of three Mynamar, pro-democratic resistance fighters into the custody of the Myanmar military-affiliated Border Guard Force. Fortify Rights calls for the Thai government to investigate the reported forced return of three Myanmar nationals and implement screening processes to prevent future refinements. Read more here.
4th April: UNHCR conducted an online consultation with NGOs on 'Enhancing Inclusion and Protection of Forcibly Displaced Persons with Disabilities'. The event provided a chance for participants to improve their understanding of challenges faced by people with disabilities in refugee status determination and asylum processes based on the recently published paper in this regard. They touch on the protection requirements of persons with disabilities, in particular women and children, and ways to address them. Read more here.
15th April: The World Court (ICJ), published a ruling rejecting the military junta’s request for an extension in a historic genocide trial initiated against Myanmar in 2019. On 23rd October 2020, The Gabmia filled a 500+ page Memorial at ICJ, in a lawsuit against Myanmar for genocide against Rohingya, where the court set April 24, 2023, as the deadline for the junta to file a “Counter-Memorial”—an official response to The Gambia’s evidence of genocide against the Rohingya people. On March 14th 2023, the Myanmar junta sent a request to ICJ for a 10 months extension, which was denied on 6th April 2023. Read more here.
Reports & Publications
6th April: Al Jazeera’s 101 East Documentary released Rohingya VJs: Exclusive Acc ess inside Myanmar’s apartheid state which was filmed secretly over two years by ‘Rohingya citizen journalists’ and contains a rare insight into the day-to-day challenges faced by Rohingya living in Rakhine state.
The thesis Externalisation and Access to Asylum: An Investigation into Australia’s Migration Control Cooperation with Indonesia, examines Australia’s externalisation policies in cooperation with Indonesia and the International Organisation for Migration, to answer whether Australia is responsible for the human rights violations of refugees in Indonesia.
12th April: The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) issued a report: Conflict Dynamics between Bangladeshi Host Communities and Rohingya Refugees which analyses perceptions and experiences of conflict, governance, and politics.
13th April: The US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) released a report: A Glimpse at Camp Life in Cox’s Bazar: Examining Aid Response and Distilling Solutions which examines camp conditions, infrastructure improvements, and aid accomplishments witnessed by USCRI. It considers the ongoing challenges of providing adequate healthcare, mitigating human trafficking risks, and ensuring access to education. It analyses funding and U.S. resettlement issues and offers to address the existing needs of Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh that the international community, the Bangladeshi government, local NGOs, and the U.S. Government can implement.
Fellowships & Scholarships
Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP) is offering scholarships for mid-career women working on peace and security issues in a national ministry, IO, NGO, civil society, or academic institution to join their eight-month full-time Leadership in International Security Course in Geneva. The course is designed to increase the knowledge, skills and network of high-performing professionals, who seek to enhance their career and engage in leadership positions in solving the world’s most pressing security challenges. Accommodation and living expenses are covered. Deadline: 31 May 2023.
Next Generation Foresight Practitioners (NGFP) Fellowship is for young people (priority given to ages 18 - 35) to join a young cohort of changemakers from around the world in re-imagining and co-creating equitable and inclusive futures
Amount: 1,000 USD + match funding.
Deadline: 2 June 2023.
The Canadian Government Funding
The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives is inviting applications for small-scale, high-impact projects that are conceived and designed predominantly by local partners. Non-registered organisations require a fiscal sponsor.
- ASEAN: Projects must have an impact on, or have participants from, at least 3 ASEAN countries. Average grant is $20,000 to $40,000 CAD. Priorities include: inclusive governance (diversity, democracy, human rights, the rule of law), peace and security, inclusive growth, gender equality and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Deadline: 15 May 2023.
- Pakistan: Average amount: $30,000 CAD. Priorities include: inclusive governance (diversity, democracy, human rights, the rule of law), peace and security, human dignity (health, education and nutrition), gender equality and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Deadline: 20 May 2023.
UNAOC Youth Solidarity Fund offers grants to youth-led organisations with legal status to employ creative methodologies to break stereotypes, improve intercultural relations and promote a culture of peace. Focus areas include: educational activities, arts and sports, media and social-media campaigns and "creative settings". Maximum Amount: 25,000 USD (must not be more than 50% of the organisation's 2022 annual budget). Deadline: 14 May 2023.
European Commission has launched a call to Promote and Protect Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in Pakistan. The aim of this call is to increase the resilience of journalists (including women and young journalists) and media houses and contribute to the safety and protection of journalists and media workers, enabling freedom of expression and by condemning attacks, harassment or intimidation. Grant size: 650,000 - 850,000 EUROS over 30-36 months. Deadline: 22 May 2023.
Global Fund for Women
Global Fund for Women is offering (i) General Support / Innovation Grants and (ii) Crisis Grants to nonprofits or women's foundations that advocate for gender justice.
Applicants must be governed, directed, and/or led by historically marginalized communities.
Apply via their online portal.
Deadline: Ongoing (Not Specified).
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