Report on the Urban Refugees in Asia Pacific: Resiliency and Coping Strategies
National consultations : Bangkok
15-16 August 2013
In 2012, APRRN collaborated with member organizations in Thailand, India, Malaysia, and Nepal to conduct the “Urban Refugees in Asia Pacific: Resiliency and Coping Strategies” pilot study. This research aimed to amplify refugees’ voices to raise more awareness about the particular challenges they face in a harsh, challenging and often exploitative environment by outlining several broad themes that reflect the distinct issues related to surviving in an urban setting. Like most countries in the region, none of the countries in which the research was conducted are signatories to the 1951 Refugee Convention.
Furthermore, all four countries lack national legislation providing any legal protection to refugees, asylum seekers or stateless persons. Refugees in these countries are not allowed to work and face the constant threat of indefinite immigration detention if they are apprehended by authorities. However, despite the overwhelming barriers to living, the results of the study revealed that urban refugees overcome hardship through determination and demonstrate immense resilience. Building upon the experiences portrayed through the pilot study, APRRN organized the first of four follow-up national consultations on 15-16 August in Bangkok, Thailand, with representatives from APRRN member organizations and a diverse group of refugee participants living in Bangkok in attendance. The goal of the consultations was to provide a platform for refugees to communicate their existing coping mechanisms to NGOs/service providers and to facilitate an open discussion about the best methods for strengthening the resiliency of urban refugees and mitigating the risks associated with some coping strategies. In this report, we use the term refugee to encompass not only the people formally recognized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) but also asylum seekers and stateless persons.
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