News Briefs (July 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.
APRRN calls on the government of India to immediately stop arbitrary arrests and indefinite detention of Rohingya men, women and children across India
On 1 August, APRRN issued a statement calling on the Government of India to respect the rule of law and immediately cease arbitrary arrests and indefinite detention of Rohingya refugees. APRRN condemns the recent incident on 18 July where prison authorities in Hiranagar in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir used excessive force when shooting teargas at a group of 269 Rohingya men, women and children who were attempting to break free, resulting in several people being injured and the death of a five-month-old child. APRRN further condemns the arrest and detainment of over 200 Rohingya refugees, including women and children, on 24 July in Uttar Pradesh. Full statement here.
Meet our new Co-Secretary Generals!
APRRN recently transitioned into a co-leadership model with lived refugee experience at the forefront. We are excited for you to watch this introduction video and to get to know our CO-SGs Hafsar Tameesuddin and Klaus Dik Nielsen!
Malaysia: Joint Submission to the Universal Periodic Review
APRRN and the Global Detention Project prepared the fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Malaysia focusing on human rights concerns with respect to migration-related detention in Malaysia. Read the full submission here.
China: Joint Submission to the Universal Periodic Review
APRRN and the Global Detention Project prepared the fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Malaysia focusing on human rights concerns with respect to migration-related detention in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Read the full submission here.
Member Consultations on the 2023 - 2027 APRRN Draft Strategy
In July, APRRN conducted regional member consultations on the 2023-2027 APRRN strategic plan which aims to set out the strategic priorities for APRRN over the next four years. The draft plan has been developed by the Steering Committee and Board, with assistance from organisational development consultants. The consultations, as well as a questionnaire on the strategy, gathered constructive feedback on the draft strategy before preparing a final version for endorsement at the 9th Asia Pacific Consultation on Refugee Rights (APCRR9) in Bangkok and online on 12 and 13 September, the 9th time APRRN members convene to discuss the future direction of APRRN in our network’s 15 year’s history. An agenda will be coming your way soon.
APRRN released a vacancy call for 3 positions: a Rohingya Consultant, a Membership Support and Communications Consultant and a Learning Lead Consultant who will be overseeing, documenting and monitoring the new co-leadership model. The recruitment process is currently underway and we expect to have all positions filled next month.
Word from our CO-SGs
We will soon begin the process of nomination and election of Geographic and Thematic Working Group Chairs and Co-Chairs, initially with an email calling for interested members to join the Election Committee.
Klaus attended a formal dinner and strategic meeting event organised by Rainbow Railroad (Canada) and Equal Asia Foundation which gathered a large number of diplomats, UN agencies and organisations working with LGBTIQ+ refugees and displaced persons. New relationships were formed and potential future collaboration, including with ILGA Asia and Stonewall.
On 2 August, Hafsar delivered an oral submission on the petition to create a rainbow refugee subcategory under the annual New Zealand refugee quota programme on behalf of APRRN, in collaboration with the Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies. This was done to the New Zealand Parliament, following the written submission in June which gathered a significant number of signatures.
Klaus took part in the Second Stakeholder Consultation for the Seventh Asian and Pacific Population Conference (APPC) on the theme “Achieving Climate Justice for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific”. The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in collaboration with UNFPA, will organize the Seventh APPC – an intergovernmental forum, with CSO participation, from 15 to 17 November 2023 in Bangkok. Population movement is one of the sub-themes, and we plan to hold a side event at the forum, in collaboration with the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) - the first-ever global alliance of, for and led by grassroots migrants, refugees and displaced people).
Hafsar, Klaus and Hasan Al-Akraa, founder of the Al-Hasan Volunteer Network in Malaysia and Partnerships and Comms Officer with Asylum Access, spoke at an event organized by IMA on “What It Means To Be “A Refugee” and the situation of asylum-seekers and refugees in the Asia Pacific. The Q&A with an audience of 60+ migrants and CSOs from the IMA network was very interactive and lively.
Hasar attended and facilitated the New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Forum, highlighting the meaningful participation and genuine partnerships among refugees, communities, NGOs, CBOs, government agencies and other actors to comprehensively address the challenges and opportunities facing refugees in New Zealand.
The Skilled Migrant and Refugees Technicians (SMART) founded by a group of skilled refugees in Indonesia in 2020, aims to use technology and the internet to empower the refugee community through its IT Help Desk, Web Designing and Digital Marketing services. Their SMART e-Learning project trains refugees on online work and connects them with freelancers or companies who need their skills through the Skilled Refugee Resourcing Program.
From our Members
28th July: Community and Family Services International (CFSI) has partnered with the Bangsamoro Development Agency for the implementation of the Bangsamoro Camps Transformation Project. The project aims to increase access to socio-economic services and basic infrastructure in the six previously acknowledged camps of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Through this partnership, CFSI and BDA will support sustainable livelihoods and participation in resilient and inclusive communities of transitioning combatants and their families, including women, youth, and indigenous peoples.
29th July: Justice Centre Hong Kong hosted a Human library event bridging the gap between the local host community and established and newly arrived asylum seekers. In attendance were past and current asylum seekers passionate about learning and pursuing tertiary education along with Branches of Hope who shared the difficulties asylum seekers face in Hong Kong. Through this event, they hope to break the stigmas of asylum seekers in the community, facilitate deeper communications and build a more inclusive and fair Hong Kong.
31st July: SUAKA Indonesia continued their RISE! Discussion Series session on legal empowerment for refugees, discussing law provisions of written agreements as legal documentation for your daily transaction activity (selling-buying, rent, loan-debt, etc).
Rohingya Human Rights Network has graduated its second batch from its vocational training program in the largest slum in Dhaka (Korail). Each graduate receives a manual (hand/pedal-driven) sewing machine to help them earn a living with dignity. Here is a video clip from two of their graduates talking about their experiences from the training.
13th July: Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for Bangladesh authorities to assist refugees by establishing accessible systems to report crimes and promptly investigate complaints. Between January and April 2023, HRW documented 26 cases of violence against Rohingya, including murder, kidnapping, torture, rape and sexual assault, and forced marriage, drawing on interviews with 45 Rohingya refugees and supporting evidence including police and medical reports. Victims report facing layers of barriers to accessing police, legal, and medical assistance, with the authorities failing to provide protection, improve security, or prosecute those responsible.
18th July: About 270 Rohingya detainees at the Hiranagar detention centre, in the Indian-administered territory of Jammu & Kashmir, were fired upon by Indian authorities with teargas when trying to escape a detention centre, where they had been held for more than two years. They had been accused of living in India illegally, despite their status being recognised by the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR. Many fear for their future, especially after two Rohingya – including a woman initially separated from her family – were deported from the centre to Myanmar last year. During the incident, a five-month-old baby died after she failed to receive treatment after inhaling the gas. APRRN Member, Rohingya Human Rights Initiative issued a statement following the violence.
13th July: Human Rights Watch called on the Malaysian government to immediately prioritize a thorough and transparent investigation into the abduction of the Myanmar refugee activist Thuzar Maung and her family, abducted on the 4th of July. Read more here.
6th July: Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said Myanmar was in a “deadly freefall” into even deeper violence during his address at the Interactive Dialogue on Myanmar at the 53rd Session of the Human Rights Council.
The Japanese government has granted refugee status to 114 Afghans with immediate effect. Once recognized as refugees, they will be granted legal status of residence and relaxed requirements for permanent residency. Read more here.
5th July: Nearly two months after Cyclone Mocha devastated Myanmar’s Rakhine state, Radio News Asia reported that international organizations were still unable to travel to affected areas to provide humanitarian aid. A Rohingya refugee in the Dar Paing refugee camp said there has been no international support in the camps. “Nothing has been done about the shelters in the IDP camps so far. They are also facing food shortages,” the refugee told RFA. The news that international support will come does not reach this area. Their support has not reached this side of the state yet.”
14th July: The UN Human Rights Council adopted five Resolutions, including one on the Human Rights of Rohingya Muslims and Other Minorities in Myanmar. The Council calls upon Myanmar to immediately end all violence and all violations of international law in the country; to ensure the protection of the human rights of all persons in Myanmar and to take all measures necessary to provide justice to victims and to ensure full accountability. APRRN members Chris Lewa from the Arakan Project and Yasmin Ullah from ALTSEAN Burma spoke on the panel. Further details here.
20th July: The World Food Programme released a statement announcing that the 2023 Rohingya humanitarian crisis response plan, which requires about $875 million to reach the nearly one million refugees in need, is only a quarter funded. In March, the value of the food vouchers for camp residents was reduced from $12 per person per month to $10, and in June, to just $8; the equivalent of 27 cents a day. Alongside fresh food assistance, WFP implements nutrition programmes for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under five years of age. The only way to prevent the humanitarian situation in the camps from deteriorating further is by investing in education, skills training and livelihood opportunities.
Reports & Publications
‘Insecurity, Risk and Resilience: The Contributions and Challenges of Refugee-led Initiatives in Rohingya Refugee Cam ps in Bangladesh’ draws on fieldwork interviews conducted with refugee leaders and representatives in 2022. The report provides the first detailed analysis of the experiences of RLIs working in the Rohingya refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. Its lead authors are Jessica Olney and Saiful Haque, with the Kaldor Centre’s Brian Barbour and Tristan Harley and APNOR’s Najeeba Wazefadost.
‘In Endless Transit: Contributions and Challenges for Refugee-led Initiatives in Indonesia’ highlights the resilience and entrepreneurial responses of RLIs in Indonesia but calls for support. ‘The failure of states to provide adequate protection and offer solutions are leading to a sense of disempowerment and despair amongst refugees in Indonesia, and this is having an outsized impact on RLIs,’ the report notes.
Legal Action Worldwide released a guide on the Rohingya crisis and the legal avenues available to Rohingya victims and survivors who want to bring the perpetrators in Myanmar to justice for international crimes committed against their people. It includes an overview of the ongoing international justice mechanisms currently focusing on the crimes committed against the Rohingya mainly after 2010. It contains key messages, themes and practical tools to equip humanitarian actors to support the Rohingya and their pursuit of international justice.
Fellowships & Scholarships
The Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney is currently accepting applications for two Visiting Fellowship positions for researchers with lived experience of displacement who are undertaking research in refugee and forced migration studies. These Fellowship positions are an opportunity to be based at the Kaldor Centre for a period of one to three months and to benefit from knowledge exchange and learning with the Kaldor Centre team, along with researchers from UNSW’s Forced Migration Research Network. Apply here. Deadline: rolling basis.
The Fugee HiEd Scholarship applications are now open! This tertiary education scholarship is awarded to qualified and deserving refugee students living in Malaysia. Through the programme, scholars receive free tuition, mentorship and extensive career and development opportunities. Deadline: 16th August 2023.
The Asia Foundation Development Fellows is providing an unparalleled opportunity to highly qualified, young professionals from Asia and the Pacific Islands that aims to strengthen their leadership skills and gain in-depth knowledge of Asia's critical development challenges. The year-long professional advancement program is designed to be a multifaceted experience, involving intensive learning modules— short courses, conferences and study tours in Asia and the U.S.- to enhance leadership skills, Asian development knowledge, professional networks, and international exposure. Amount 1,000 to 10,000 USD. Deadline: 28 August 2023.
The UN Voluntary Trust Fund is calling for proposals to support not-for-profit organisations working in the area of trafficking in persons whose projects are aimed at providing immediate and essential direct assistance for vulnerable victims of trafficking in persons. Amount: USD 10,000 to 100,000. Deadline: 25 August 2023.
The One Day’s Wages is now accepting Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) for matching grants to support locally-led, community-based organizations that do not have a Western-based branch, board, or network of donors. Matching grants require the partners to raise a portion of the grant funds, which are then matched by One Day’s Wages dollar for dollar. Most of the matching grants are 1:1 matches. For example, if a proposed project budget is $30,000, the partner would be responsible for raising $15,000 on ODW’s fundraising platform and ODW would match up to $15,000. Amount: 10,000 to 100,000 USD. Deadline: Ongoing.
Women's Fund Asia is calling for proposals for their Strengthening Feminist Movements 2023-24 Grant Applications. The programme, supports women, girls, trans, and intersex rights activists, groups, and networks, working at the local, subnational, and national levels in countries in Asia. Deadline: 7th August 2023.
Damien Greer Lawyers is inviting organisations to apply for a $2,500 Community Grant in 2023. The Damien Greer Lawyers Community Grant program recognises and celebrates organisations that strive to make a positive impact within their local community. Amount: 1,000 to 10,000 USD. Deadline: 31st December 2023.
APRRN Member Job Vacancies
Online Tutor (SMART)
Join the e-SMART Study, an initiative by SMART, empowering refugees with digital skills. After successfully completing Phase 1, focusing on WordPress beginners, they now seek an Online Tutor for Phase 2. This phase aims to teach WordPress Advanced and CSS to 25 refugee learners. Deadline: 7th August 2023.
Litigation Coordinator, Gender & Displacement (MAP)
MAP is looking for a dynamic professional who is passionate about gender justice and is excited to contribute to the realisation of MAP’s bold vision of making justice a reality for those severely marginalised by mainstream systems. Deadline 11th August 2023.
Associate Director of Human Resouces for Mexico (Asylum Access Malaysia)
Asylum Access Malaysia is searching for an Interim Associate Director of Human Resources for Mexico who will support Asylum Access Mexico (AAMX) to develop, implement, sustain, and evaluate strong human resources structures and systems that reflect our values and shape workplace culture. The Interim Associate Director will support every area of HR, employee management, recruiting and hiring, policy development, and more. The position will continue through at least June 2024, with possibilities for renewal beyond that in a non-interim role. Deadline 11th August 2023.
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