The Asia-Pacific region is consistently home to one of the largest numbers of forcibly displaced people in the world. Despite this, states in our region lack a coherent vision and strategy for the protection of refugees, asylum seekers and other displaced people. While states have been actively engaged in dialogue and cooperation on cross-border movements, this has mostly focused on combating people smuggling and trafficking with limited attention to refugee protection.
With momentum now building globally for a new compact on ‘responsibility sharing’ it is a critical time to ensure that protection dialogues do in fact strengthen the advancement of refugee rights and are not swept off course by a ‘security’ agenda, entrenching ‘burden shifting’ practices and leading to the dilution of existing rights. Civil society has a key role to play – and we are strongest when we act together, as a network, with a strong vision and plan, and in association with other key actors.
In light of this, the Regional Protection Working Group was established during the 6th Asia Pacific Consultation on Refugee Rights in September 2016. The Working Group is based on the earlier work done by the APRRN Sub-Committee on Regional Protection and the Regional Protection Reference Group.
Objective of the Working Group:
Increased ownership and longer-term realisation of our existing APRRN Vision for Regional Protection through development and implementation of corresponding strategies which are clear, time-bound and based on accurate data and analysis.
Proposed major activities in the next two years:
- Undertake research and consultation with members on existing good practices with a view to supporting their consolidation, replication and scale-up, including via development of tools and processes for mutual learning (such as peer mentoring), accompanying evidence-based advocacy and donor engagement.
- Consult with APRRN WGs to develop and commence implementing a realistic and benchmarked plan of action (aligned with existing WG plans) towards the longer-term realisation of APRRN’s Vision for Regional Protection.
- Drawing upon expertise within the membership, support APRRN representation in high-level forums by developing advocacy talking points and strategies, and identifying further advocacy targets and opportunities that will support realisation of APRRN’s Vision for Regional Protection.
- Map and analyse up-coming high-level and other strategic advocacy opportunities, key advocacy targets and existing members’ access points and relevant expertise.
- Organise a Regional Roundtable on strategic advocacy to refine APRRN’s approach, analyse key opportunities and strengthen capacity.
Chair: Brian Barbour (Japan-America Refugee Network)
Deputy Chair: Tamara Domicelj (Act for Peace, Australia)