September 2015 Issue

This Summer at APRRN

Regional Activities

Of Interest

Upcoming Events

  • Structured Dialogues organized by UNHCR and ICVA, Sep 22-24, Bangkok
  • Report launch: “Community Resilience and Disaster-Related Displacement in South Asia,”  Sep 28, Bangkok
  • UNHCR ExCom, Oct 5-9, Geneva
  • APRRN Short Course, Nov 30-Dec 4, Bangkok

See all upcoming events


Regional Activities

UNHCR Annual Consultations with NGOs- July 1-3, Geneva

Thai mission Geneva

The Thai mission to Geneva

The UNHCR Annual Consultations with NGOs, attended by APRRN since 2009, provide the opportunity for NGOs to discuss issues and contribute recommendations with UNHCR’s senior staff, human rights groups, other NGOs and refugees themselves.

Forty APRRN members attended the consultations, held from 1-3 July 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. APRRN’s growing presence allowed APRRN members to receive high visibility and play a vital role throughout the consultations.

For further details on the Consultations, visit UNHCR’s website here: UNHCR NGO Consultations. To access the final report: NGO Rapporteur’s Report on the UNHCR-NGO Annual Consultations 

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Update on Protection at Sea Activities

Julia at UNHCR NGO

APRRN’s Programme Manager, Julia Mayerhofer, attends a regional consultation on protection at sea activities

Despite no boats having left from the Bay of Bengal since mid-June, departures are anticipated to re-commence at the end of the monsoon season (late September/early October). APRRN has continued to share information with our members, providing them updates from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.

Members who are interested in receiving these updates should get in touch with the Secretariat at

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8th Regional Consultation on ASEAN and Human Rights- August 17-18, Kuala Lumpur

The “8th Regional Consultation on ASEAN and Human Rights – Migration and Human Rights in ASEAN” took place from the 17th-18th of August 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The consultation was organised by a group of civil society organisations (including APRRN) and joined by over 60 organisations from the ASEAN region.

The regional consultation on ASEAN and Human Rights is an annual ASEAN civil society initiative by FORUM-ASIA, the SAPA Taskforce on ASEAN and Human Rights (TFAHR), which serves as both a platform to strengthen engagement with the ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism, and as a venue for discussing human rights situations pertinent to the ASEAN region.

In order to ensure the protection of migrant’s human rights, recognising existing challenges is key. Thus, the main objectives of the 8th Regional Consultation on ASEAN and Human Rights were:

  1. To identify, map and scope the human rights issues faced by migrants in the ASEAN region, particularly in the context of the launch of the ASEAN Community in 2015;
  2. To provide a platform for human rights dialogue, solidarity and coordination among civil society, NHRIs, and other relevant stakeholders in the ASEAN region to promote and protect the human rights of migrants;
  3. To provide a platform for dialogue between CSOs and the existing human rights mechanisms of ASEAN, particularly the AICHR and the ACWC.

The APRRN Secretariat was represented by Julia Mayerhofer, APRRN’s Programme Manager. She presented in the opening panel, providing an overview of trends of forced migration in the region. APRRN also organised a panel on “Forced Migration in the ASEAN region”. The panel was joined by Rick Towle (UNHCR Malaysia), Amy Smith (Fortify Rights) and Sharuna Verghis (Health Equity Initiatives).

Outputs from the consultations included a press release, as well as a joint statement that will be sent to the relevant ASEAN institutions.

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World Humanitarian Summit- South & Central Asia Regional Consultations- July 28-30, Dushanbe

World Humanitarian summit

The World Humanitarian Summit consultations are a series of regional and thematic meetings between government representatives, officials from multilateral institutions, local NGOs, and humanitarian stakeholders taking place around the world. Created by the UN Secretary General, these regional
consultations (held in preparation for the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May 2016) allow participants to identify and address humanitarian issues and collaborate to promote solutions that push humanitarian aid practices forward. Specific themes intended to guide discussions include: humanitarian effectiveness, reducing vulnerability and managing risk, transformation through innovation, and serving the needs of people in conflict.

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Same Skies Project, Indonesia

Same Skies Team

Photo provided by Same Skies

APRRN is excited to welcome Same Skies as a new member. Same Skies mission and vision, to empower refugee and asylum seekers and communities through creative models, focuses on an innovative person-centered approach to overcome vulnerability. Learn more about Same Skies and their flagship project, with this message shared with us by the Same Skies staff:

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Meeting with Malaysian Members- July 27, Kuala Lumpur

KL skyline APRRN’s Programme Officer, Helen Brunt, organised a meeting with APRRN members and other partners in Malaysia, which was kindly hosted by the Malaysian Bar Council. The meeting was attended by 20 participants and involved lively discussion on a variety of topics.

Attendees discussed the recent arrival in Malaysia of asylum-seekers and migrants by sea, immigration detention issues, plans for interpreter training for NGOs in Malaysia, the APRRN delegation visit to Australia and New Zealand in September 2015, the recent APRRN-UNHCR-Mahidol University ‘Regional Statelessness Retreat,’ and upcoming activities for APRRN’s South East Asia Working Group.

Malaysian members expressed appreciation for the opportunity to meet face-to-face with each other, and also with a representative from the APRRN Secretariat to discuss potential areas for joint advocacy, mutual capacity strengthening and sharing of experiences and resources. It is hoped that it will be possible to continue to hold similar meetings every six months.

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Summer Course on Statelessness

ISI Summer Course

Helen and ISI summer course attendees

In August, APRRN’s Programme Officer, Helen Brunt, spent a week in the Netherlands participating in a ‘Summer Course on Statelessness.’ The 30 selected participants representing civil society, academia, governments and international organisations in 27 different countries, came together to learn about statelessness, explore fundamental questions of definition and legal frameworks, and to develop plans for action.

This course was coordinated and run by the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, in partnership with the Open Society Justice Initiative and hosted by Tilburg University. An intensive learning programme for professionals working on statelessness and related issues, the course considered statelessness and the right to nationality from various angles including legal and policy issues, research and advocacy.

In the opening session, Helen Brunt gave an overview about statelessness in the Asia Pacific region including the nexus between statelessness and forced migration for the benefit of participants working in other geographical regions. She also gained new knowledge, tools and skills from others working to address statelessness and advocate for the right to nationality around the world.

Upon returning to the Secretariat office, Helen enthused, “It was amazing to meet so many people from all corners of the globe who are equally passionate about statelessness! I was proud to represent the Asia Pacific region and have returned to Bangkok with a new energy and drive to mainstream statelessness into the other thematic areas of APRRN’s work.”

Helen’s participation in the Summer Course was made possible thanks to the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, and Open Society Justice Initiative.

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Of Interest

Introduction of the new APRRN Deputy Chair


APRRN Deputy Chair, Mr. Yiombi Thona

APRRN would like to extend a warm welcome to Mr. Yiombi Thona, the newly elected APRRN Deputy Chair. Everyone at the APRRN Secretariat is looking forward to working closely with Mr. Thona. Please click below to learn more about Mr. Thona, including a description of his background and experiences that showcase his commitment to working for refugee rights in both academic and organisational settings.

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Interview with the new APRRN Intern


APRRN Intern Mahalia Kahsay

Mahalia Kahsay has recently joined the APRRN Secretariat as an intern. The APRRN Secretariat is excited to welcome her on the team. We’ve asked her a few questions to find out more about her interest in working with APRRN.

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Rights in Exile Programme

rights in exile

The Rights in Exile Programme promotes the legal rights of refugees worldwide by connecting legal aid providers with one another and facilitating access to legal resources and training.

Read more about the resources the programme provides…

The Diplomat’s Series, “Southeast Asia: Refugees in Crisis”


The Diplomat, an online magazine providing coverage on the Asia Pacific region, is currently presenting a series of articles on Southeast Asia’s refugee crisis. The series, entitled “Southeast Asia: Refugees in Crisis” will run Summer-Fall 2015 and provides a breadth of background information and thoughtful analysis while addressing key issues of the crisis. Click here for a collection of all articles to date.

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Upcoming Events  

Structured Dialogues organized by UNHCR and ICVA, Sep 22-24, Bangkok

Report launch: “Community Resilience and Disaster-Related Displacement in South Asia” (co-organised by APRRN, ICVA and the Norwegian Refugee Council), Sep 28, Bangkok

UNHCR ExCom, Oct 5-9, Geneva

Nansen Initiative Global Consultations, Oct 12-13, Geneva

World Humanitarian Summit- Global Consultations, Oct 14-16, Geneva

Global Forum on Migration and Development, Oct 14-16 Istanbul

Immigration Detention Roundtable (co-organised by APRRN and the International Detention Coalition), Nov 4-5, Bangkok

APRRN Short Course, Dec 1-4, Bangkok

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