Open Letter to the Co-Chairs of the Bali Process: Triggering the Bali Process Consultation Mechanism

1 November 2017

Dear Mr Al Farisi and Mr Goledzinowski,

Re: Triggering the Bali Process Consultation Mechanism

We write to you in our capacity as the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) with regard to the escalating humanitarian crisis affecting the Rohingya in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

As you may be aware, APRRN is a civil society network dedicated to the advancement of refugee rights in our region with over 300 organisational and individual members across 30 countries. The majority of our members work at the national level to support refugees and other displaced persons in need of protection.

By way of background, APRRN set out its Vision for Regional Protection in 2014 and is committed to working collaboratively with other actors in our region and beyond to uphold the rights of refugees and others in need of protection in accordance with commonly held values and principles. We note significant points of alignment between APRRN’s Vision and the commitments set out in the Bali Declaration of March 2016 as well as the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants of September 2016, unanimously adopted by 193 UN member states. We have enjoyed several positive encounters with your Regional Support Office and stand ready to work with the Bali Process, its RSO and/or its individual members in pursuit of our commonly held goals.

Following the Andaman Sea Crisis in May 2015, APRRN was heartened by the Bali Process’ recognition in its review of the region’s response of the need to improve “national, regional and subregional contingency planning and preparedness for potential large influxes of irregular migrants in the future”. Also significant was its establishment of a Taskforce on Planning and Preparedness and of a mechanism “to facilitate timely and proactive consultation to respond to emergency situations”.

In light of the gravity of the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh and its clear regional implications, we are writing to you now to urge you to trigger your consultation mechanism and to convene urgent dialogue amongst your members regarding the role that the Bali Process might play with respect to this emergency. We understand that the Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration, with which several of our members are individually involved, also wrote to you earlier on this point.

We agree withits public assessment that the Bali Process could make a valuable contribution to the response effort and that failure to act now would both undermine security and preparedness in the region and be inconsistent with your recent reforms.

We respectfully call upon you to act now. We stand ready to offer our support to the Bali Process and other actors in strengthening protection for refugees and other displaced persons in our region. We would welcome any opportunity for dialogue and can be contacted via APRRN’s Programme Coordinator Evan Jones at Evan@aprrn.info.

Sincerely,

Yiombi Thona

Chair, APRRN
Gwangju University (Seoul, Korea)

Lilianne Fan

Deputy Chair, APRRN
Geutanyoe Foundation (Aceh, Indonesia)

A PDF version of the Open Letter can be found here.

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