Welcome to APRRN’s first newsletter for 2018! We expect 2018 to be an incredibly busy year with numerous national, regional and international advocacy opportunities for our members. Please enjoy reading APRRN’s updates from the past few months and some of the key activities with which we’ve been engaged in the first few months of this year. With the 7th Asia Pacific Consultation on Refugee Rights coming up later this year, we hope to see many of you in person in Bangkok quite soon!
If you have any questions or comments please email Evan at Evan@aprrn info.
1. APRRN EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES:
- APRRN-ICVA Dialogue on Rohingya Returns (February 2018)
2. INTERNATIONAL ADVOCACY:
- End Childhood Detention: Thailand Scorecard (December 2017)
- Asia Regional Civil Society Meeting on the Zero Draft of the Global Compact for Migration (February 2018)
- Innovation 4 Change: Civic Innovation Fair (February 2018)
3. OF INTEREST:
- Staff Changes
- ESTiN Luncheon
- APRRN in the Media
- APRRN’s Organisational Review
- Upcoming Events
APRRN EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES
APRRN-ICVA DIALOGUE ON ROHINGYA RETURNS (FEBRUARY 2018)
On 6th February 2018, APRRN and the International Council for Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), co-organised the “APRRN-ICVA Dialogue on Rohingya Returns” in Bangkok, Thailand. Several participants from across the region that were unable to join in-person also dialled into the meeting to share and receive updates. The purpose of this meeting was to bring together actors from the human rights and humanitarian sectors to share information about the current situation for Rohingya in both Myanmar and Bangladesh, with a particular focus on the proposed / possible repatriation of Rohingya to Myanmar.
Over 20 organisations were represented in the meeting, which included NGOs working on the ground in Bangladesh and Myanmar as well as UNHCR. The Chatham House rules style meeting, allowed a diverse range of organisations and individuals to provide up to date information in a confidential setting.
One of the key outcomes from the meeting included the need for increased collaboration between human rights and humanitarian actors to enable the development of stronger advocacy strategies. Moreover, everyone involved agreed that the meeting presented an important opportunity for information sharing between actors working on both sides of the border and that increased collaboration is critical. It is anticipated that further quarterly meetings on this issue will be held in the near future and will be coordinated by ICVA and APRRN.
END CHILDHOOD DETENTION: THAILAND SCORECARD COMMITTEE (DECEMBER 2017)
As part of the Global Campaign to End Child Detention, many partners around the world have begun working together to develop ‘country scorecards’. These scorecards will be used to track individual countries progress (or otherwise), and compare work undertaken by governments towards ending child immigration detention. Each country scorecard assesses a country’s laws, policies, procedures, international obligations, political commitments and crucially, implementation in relation to the detention of children.
As part of this global movement, APRRN has joined the Thailand Scorecard Committee to assess Thailand’s current positioning regarding childhood detention. Other in-country partners include Fortify Rights, the Coalition for the Rights of Refugees and Stateless Persons (CRSP) and Save the Children. On 14-15 December 2017, the country committee organised a consultation with 16 other NGOs to help refine the initial findings and draft scorecard. The scorecard contains a number of broad areas including; accession to international treaties, national laws, processing, placement, rights, and general oversight.
It is anticipated that the final results will be released in early 2018 and they will be available at endchilddetention.org. The Thailand scorecard will also come with a series of tangible recommendations for how the Thai Government can improve its scores. In line with the Global Campaign to End Childhood Detention, the scorecards are seen as important measures to hold countries accountable, and to encourage governments to make real change to end child detention.
ASIA REGIONAL CIVIL SOCIETY MEETING ON THE ZERO DRAFT OF THE GLOBAL COMPACT FOR MIGRATION (FEBRUARY 2018)
On the 5th of February 2018, the Zero Draft of the Global Compact for Migration was released. This document was the culmination of a series of geographic and thematic consultations that were hosted by the International Organisation for Migration between April-November 2017. The six themes were: human rights of all migrants, addressing drivers of migration, international cooperation and governance of migration, contributions of migrants and diasporas, smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and contemporary forms of slavery, and irregular migration and regular pathways.
In preparation for the first set of intergovernmental negotiations, Migrant Forum in Asia hosted the Asia Regional Civil Society Meeting on the Zero Draft of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) on 11-12 February in Manila, the Philippines. Evan Jones, APRRN’s Programme Coordinator represented the network at the meeting. The meeting brought together a range of stakeholders from across the region including NGOs, refugee rights practitioners, migrant worker advocacy organisations, and trade unions.
The meeting served as a unique opportunity for participants to discuss the GCM and to provide detailed commentary and text suggestions on the Zero Draft. Whilst primarily focusing upon the exact text of the zero draft, there was also plenty of discussion on the complementarity between the two Global Compacts (Global Compact on Refugees and Global Compact on Migration) and how these compacts would need to work together. Lastly, discussions were held around how civil society actors could utilise the outcomes of the discussions and work in their own national contexts to ensure strong and consistent messaging around the GCM.
The final Global Compact on Migration is expected to be released in Q4 of 2018 to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
INNOVATION FOR CHANGE: CIVIC INNOVATION FAIR (FEBRUARY 2018)
From 31 January to 1 February 2018, APRRN’s Programme Officer Sussi Prapakranant participated in the Innovation for Change Civic Innovation Fair. Held in Bangkok, Thailand, the fair built upon I4C’s 2017 work i.e. the global phenomenon of shrinking civic society spaces and increasingly repressive conditions in many countries. In addition, the Civic Innovation Fair 2018 marked the 1-year anniversary of the opening of the I4C East Asia Hub and working in the East Asia region.
The two-day event provided an opportunity for learning exchanges aimed at supporting the community in strengthening strategies for addressing challenges faced by civil society in East Asia. Sessions focused skills sharing and reflecting upon the work conducted in 2017. Due to the significant nature of the Rohingya Crisis in the region, ideas regarding greater collaboration amongst civil society actors were also discussed and will be explored further amongst organisations in the coming months.
APRRN is thrilled to welcome Matt Potts as APRRN’s new Bangkok-based intern. Living in Sydney, Australia for the past 5 years, Matt comes to the Secretariat with a wealth of knowledge and experience having graduated from a Bachelor of Arts (Geography, International Relations and Development Studies) at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand and a Master of Development Studies (specialising in Refugees and Displacement) at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. For the past four years, he has been working with urban refugees and people seeking asylum in Sydney in community development, casework and school engagement roles.
Matt can be contacted at email@example.com and is excited to meet many of our members throughout the region soon.
ESTiN CHARITY LUNCHEON
On Friday 2nd February 2018, Expats Supporting those in Need (ESTiN), a local Thai organisation supporting Bangkok’s urban refugees, hosted a charity luncheon to raise much needed support for the affected population. As part of the event, APRRN’s Programme Coordinator Evan Jones was invited as the keynote speaker and to share his insights into the refugee situation locally, nationally and regionally. As part of his presentation Evan talked about the importance of battling xenophobia and racism in addition to the need for local communities to provide a welcoming atmosphere for refugees.
Funds raised from the event went towards purchasing provisions for refugees currently detained in Bangkok’s Immigration Detention Centre, dental treatment, emergency healthcare support and voluntary repatriation costs.
APRRN IN THE MEDIA
Malay Mail – Open Letter to the Malaysian Prime Minister
Phnom Penh Post – Extradited ‘shoe thrower’ Sam Sokha faces two-year prison sentence
Hong Kong Free Press – ‘Refugees not welcome here’: As ASEAN chair, Singapore must take the lead
Khmer Times – An Open Letter to the Indonesian President
Voice TV – Thailand Deports Recognised Refugee
Huffington Post – North Koreans Can’t Escape Human Rights Abuses, Even When They Flee
TRT World – Australia’s Shame – the men on Manus Island
Voice of America – Indonesia trục xuất người Việt xin tị nạn
Radio Free Asia – Người Thượng ở Campuchia sắp bị trả về Việt Nam
APRRN’S ORGANISATIONAL REVIEW
In November 2017, APRRN contracted the services of an external consultant to undertake an organisational review of the network. In addition to analysing APRRN’s current Strategic Plan (2014-2018), our impact and our achievements, the review team also analysed APRRN’s structure and our ability to effectively reach APRRN’s goals.
Over the course of two months, the evaluation team conducted interviews with APRRN’s member organisations, steering committee, secretariat staff, external stakeholders and donors. A final report was produced and released in January 2018, which is currently being analysed by the Steering Committee and Secretariat. Included in the report is a series of recommendations to be taken into account as the Network moves ahead and approaches its next strategic planning cycle (2018-2022).
APRRN looks forward to working towards many of the recommendations in the report and continuing to develop the network over the months and years ahead.
March 12-15: 2nd Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Global Compact for Migration, New York, USA
March 20: ICVA Annual Conference 2018 – ‘Navigating the Nexus’, Geneva, Switzerland
March 20-21: 2nd Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Global Compact for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland
April 3-6: 3rd Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Global Compact for Migration, New York, USA
April 10-11: 3rd Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Global Compact for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland
May 1-2: APRRN Regional Protection Roundtable, Bangkok, Thailand
May 8-9: 4th Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Global Compact for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland
May 14-18: 4th Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Global Compact for Migration, New York, USA
June 4-8: 5th Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Global Compact for Migration, New York, USA
June 4-8: APRRN’s South Asia Short Course on Refugee Rights and Advocacy, Bangalore, India
June 12-13: 5th Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Global Compact for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland
June 19-21: UNHCR 72nd Standing Committee Meeting, Geneva, Switzerland
June 27-29: UNHCR Annual Consultations with NGOs, Geneva, Switzerland
July 3-4: 6th Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Global Compact for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland
July 9-13: 6th Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Global Compact for Migration, New York, USA
October (TBC): The Seventh Asia Pacific Consultation on Refugee Rights, Bangkok, Thailand