It is our great pleasure to be able to present to you, our APRRN members, friends and supporters, our 2017 Annual Report. This annual report will present updates on our key pillars of work for the past year. This includes a range of collaborative international, regional and local advocacy initiatives; opportunities we have had for information sharing and outreach; and capacity strengthening with our growing network of organisations and individuals.
2017 was again a year of worrying instability and uncertainty in many places around the region and the world. We continued to see and hear stories of people forced to flee their homes and the numerous challenges for finding protection spaces at a regional and global level. The scale of the global refugee crisis continues to be unprecedented, and in our region the numbers also continued to increase with the UNHCR estimating there are now 7.7 million people of concern in the region. We were shocked by the escalation of violence toward Rohingya in Rakhine State, Myanmar forcing over 660,000 people fleeing into Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries. We also saw a worrying trend among some states toward the erosion of rights of people seeking protection from punitive state border security rhetoric and policies.
In spite of these seemingly overwhelming challenges, APRRN members continued to witness the incredible resilience, agency and creativity of people seeking safety. Through APRRN members’ joint advocacy efforts, we were also excited by notable incremental positive steps in various places in the region. These included the ongoing development of a ‘screening mechanism’ in Thailand, Indonesia’s Presidential Decree on the Handling of Foreign Refugees which contemplates multiple improvements for refugee protections, and the Malaysian pilot program allowing 300 Rohingya refugees to work legally in the country. In 2017, APRRN members and working groups were actively involved in providing input on the ongoing remodelling of the international architecture of asylum and migration that is currently taking place through the Global Compact on Refugees and a Global Compact on Migration processes. APRRN working groups and members collaborated to ensure that central to these processes are the voices and concerns of refugees and other displaced people. They also fought hard to ensure that these processes did not water-down existing protections and rights that should be afforded to refugees and others seeking safety.
APRNN’s diverse membership continued to expand in 2017 and we now have over 330 civil-society organisations and individuals across 28 countries around the region as part of the network. The diversity of the network, along with the willingness of our members to collaborate has proven to be key in the success and legitimacy we have gained as a network. Continued mutual-learning and information sharing through roundtables, conferences and short courses have also led to greater effectiveness and capacity of our member organisations and individuals. It has also bolstered our ability to connect the concerns of refugees and other displaced people into larger international frameworks and networks with the power to affect systematic change.
Thanks very much to all our members for contributing along the way and we look forward to continuing our work throughout the remainder of 2018 and beyond.
The PDF report can be found here.