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Refugee activists from across Asia celebrate 10 years of advancing refugee protection
BANGKOK, 26 October 2018 – Over 150 civil society groups, international observers and human rights defenders from across the Asia-Pacific region have met in Bangkok for the 7th Asia Pacific Consultation on Refugee Rights (APCRR7). The event provided an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on what has been achieved through the APRRN network in its first 10 years, and also to plan, strategize and structure how best to continue to advocate for increased refugee protection in the region. The consultation drew together individuals from 24 countries in the region including Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
APRRN’s Programme Coordinator Evan Jones noted that “the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network has provided a critically important platform for refugees, advocates and thought leaders in the region to come together and think strategically about how best to address the challenges facing refugees and displaced people in the region. Now, more importantly than ever, we have to act collaboratively on opportunities for increased rights and access to livelihoods and dignity.”
Yiombi Thona, Chair of the APRRN network and a refugee himself, commented that central to the discussions across the consultations was highlighting the agency of refugees in the region and around the world. “Refugees are agents of positive change not only in their own lives but also in the societies and host communities that they find themselves in. We must continue to strive to ensure that refugees are welcomed, have legal status, and the right to work, so they are best placed to continue to contribute.”
Preceding APCRR7, the inaugural Asia Pacific Summit of Refugees was held in Bangkok with over 30 refugee leaders and change-makers in attendance. A further 40 refugees joined the meeting via video link from Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Australia. This event highlighted the leadership that refugees are taking in advocating for their rights and those of their communities.
A key outcome of APCRR7 was the formation and action plan development for a number of key thematic and geographic working groups for the next 2 years’ work. These included key focus areas of refugee leadership and participation, regional protection, legal aid, durable solutions, and immigration detention.
The Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network is a network of over 350 civil society organisations and individuals from 28 countries in the Asia Pacific region committed to advancing the rights of refugees, through joint advocacy, capacity-strengthening, resource sharing and outreach.
Evan Jones, Programme Coordinator
Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN)
Tel: +66 (02) 234 2679 | Email: Evan@aprrn.info | Fax: +66 2 689 62 05