Achievements

Organisation Quick Facts

The Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) has continuously grown in both size and commitment since its inception in 2008. Through the dedicated work of its members, APRRN has become a key stakeholder in the area of refugee rights in the Asia Pacific and continues to develop new programming and organisational infrastructure.

  • APRRN has grown to over 300 members (organisations and individuals).
  • APRRN’s membership include organisations and individuals from 28 countries.
  • Six consultations on refugee rights in the Asia and Pacific region have taken place and included over 100 participants each time (October 2008, November 2009, November 2010, August 2012, September 2014 and September 2016).
  • There have been three regional consultations for East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia each year since 2011.
  • APRRN includes four geographic working groups (Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia) and six thematic working groups (Immigration Detention, Legal Aid and Advocacy, Youth, Regional Protection, Statelessness and Women and Girls at Risk).

Achievements in Our Key Focus Areas

The APRRN Vision for Regional Protection encapsulates what APRRN believes could be achieved in the Asia-Pacific region within ten to twenty years in relation to refugees and other people in need of protection. This has been informed by extensive consultations with a range of stakeholders, underlining the spirit of partnership, collaboration, accountability and transparency which guides our work. The APRRN Vision for Regional Protection aims to achieve the goals set out in the 2014-2018 Strategic Plan through its three core pillars namely:

1. Knowledge/Resource Sharing and Outreach
2. Mutual Capacity Strengthening
3. Joint Advocacy

The following highlights some of the key achievements thus far in each of these pillars.

Knowledge/Resource Sharing and Outreach

To increase knowledge and resource sharing and outreach, APRRN has: APCRR4 Group Photo

  • Launched social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) to share information and raise awareness of refugee issues;
  • Increased visibility and recognition of APRRN through outreach with universities, NGOs, governments and international organisations;
  • Increased membership from previously underrepresented countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Taiwan, Mongolia, Iran, the Maldives and PNG;
  • Facilitated the attendance of member organisations through funding opportunities at regional and international fora thus connecting the local to the national to the regional and to the international;
  • Facilitated meetings between community based organisations in Malaysia and Thailand to help them share community education practices; and
  • Launched a WIKI Page to strengthen information sharing on legal aid and statelessness issues.

APRRN currently has an ongoing research project that will identify and document best practices in the region for the purpose of increasing knowledge and resource sharing.

Mutual Capacity Strengthening

APRRN strengthens the capacity of its members by: APCRR5

  • Facilitating, in cooperation with the Asian Refugee Legal Aid Network, two legal aid trainings in 2011 (March and September 2011); In 2012, APRRN organised follow-up trainings in South Asia and Southeast Asia;
  • Pioneering different short courses on refugee law/statelessness and a semester programme on “Refugees and Statelessness” (the first of its kind in the Southeast Asia region);
  • Facilitating collaboration among various members to conduct three trainings on refugee mental health issues for East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia aimed at building skills and building awareness;
  • Organising a range of workshops and trainings on immigration detention during which concrete action plans where developed;
  • Organising a “Training of the Trainers” for the Refugee Women Dialogues projects aimed at empowering refugee women to identify their concerns and how to engage in advocacy;
  • Providing opportunities for diverse representation in dialogues regarding complex issues through events like the “2014 International Symposium to Strengthen Refugee Protection”, which brought member organisations from a number of different countries to Iran to discuss issues related to refugees from Afghanistan;
  • Facilitating national consultations between service providers and refugee communities to explore how the coping strategies of refugees can be strengthened; and
  • Supporting the formation of national civil society networks such as SUAKA in Indonesia, Refugee Rights Network in Pakistan, Refugee Watch Nepal (RefWaN) and Refugee Legal Aid Lawyers’ Network (RefLAN) in Nepal.

Joint Advocacy

To support members’ advocacy efforts, APRRN has:

  • Drafted and released over 30 joint statements, press releases, and other statements of concern in response to refugee rights violations, including:
    • Coordinating the initial statement demanding the release of detained Ahmadi Pakistanis in Thailand in December 2010. Relevant stakeholders from the Government recognised the statement and APRRN supported Thai civil society to take the lead. This resulted in the release of 94 refugees and 2 asylum seekers from detention in Thailand in June 2011.
    • Publishing a statement condemning the Australian-Cambodia Refugee Resettlement Deal in October 2014.
  • Strengthened the capacity of its members to push refugee rights protection at national level; such efforts include supporting:
    • The adoption of Korean refugee law legislation;
    • Members in Nepal to table draft legislation;
    • The increase of open dialogue with the Taiwanese Government;
    • The involvement of member organisations in the drafting of Indonesian Government standard operating procedures for dealing with refugees and asylum seekers; and
    • The development of national pilot projects on immigration detention.
  • Engaging with UNHCR, leading to the recognition that the Network is one of the key stakeholders in refugee rights protection in the region. In 2012 the APRRN Executive Director was nominated to serve as Rapporteur at the 2012 UNHCR – NGO Consultation. APRRN was also invited to a range of high level meetings/dialogues and arranged regular meetings with key UNHCR officers;
  • Ensuring the inclusion of refugee rights language in the Asian Declaration of Human Rights and in the ASEAN Civil Society Conferences. APRRN is also the focal point for refugee protection in the Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA) Network;
  • Coordinating annual NGO Statements on Asia and the Pacific for the Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme since 2009;
  • Collaborating with the International Detention Coalition (IDC) to explore alternatives to detention through action planning and pilot projects such as two regional immigration detention workshops and upcoming roundtables;
  • Organizing a range of roundtables and symposiums in East Asia bringing together government representatives and civil society such as the APRRN Symposium: Towards the Development of a Regional Protection Framework; and
  • Enabling refugee community representatives to self-advocate for their rights by attending relevant high level meetings.
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