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Title of activity
Understanding Vulnerabilities to ensure Human Rights of Refugees in Asia-Pacific
ActionAid Association (India)
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Summary of activity
Panel Discussion involivng participants from Asia-Pacific countries to deliberate on and discuss the vulnerabilities of refugees in the AP region and how to address their human rights issues.
Description of activity
Panel discussion (through Webinar) : Understanding Vulnerabilities and Ensuring Human Rights of Refugees in Asia-Pacific
Organiser – ActionAid Association, India in partnership with countries on AP region
As per the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are 9.2 million people of concern across the Asia-Pacific region, including 4.4 million refugees and asylum-seekers, 3.3 million internally displaced people and 2.3 million stateless persons. Few of the biggest contemporary refugee crises of the world are in the Asia-Pacific region like the Syrian crisis, Afghanistan crisis and Rohingya crisis. With 10.5 million refugees originating from just the three countries of Syria, Afghanistan and Myanmar, their neighbouring countries - Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, Pakistan and Bangladesh have become few of the largest hosts of refugees in the world currently. Apart from refugees, the countries in the AP region also hosts a large number of people displaced internally due to conflict and disasters. As per the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, in South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific region, there are almost 22 million people displaced internally due to conflict and disaster.
Despite the large number of refugees and displaced people originating from and residing in the AP region, many countries in this region, mainly from South and South-East Asia are not signatory to the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees or its 1967 protocol. Even countries which have ratified the convention often have strict policies on asylum seekers. Moreover, low and middle-income countries in the region also often do not have the resources to effectively support the refugee population they host. Due to all these, refugees in the AP region face several vulnerabilities and human rights violations. Basic amenities of proper shelter, food, healthcare, education and livelihood are often unavailable to such a large group of population. Many face detention as illegal migrants, children are often forced into hard labour and women face gender based violence. The COVID-19 crisis has also had exacerbating effects on the refugees and displaced people.
Given the situation, it is needed to understand what are the challenges that the AP region faces when dealing with refugee crises.
Organiser: ActionAid Association has been working with most marginalised communities on India for almost 5 decades. Among others, the human rights of the refugee communities also are at the centre of our discourse. We have been involved in researches, humanitarian support and ensuring human rights interventions, with the community.
Objectives of the Panel discussion: This discussion will bring voices from across the region to introspect few poignant questions like,
· What are the vulnerabilities that refugees and displaced people in the AP region face and how the pandemic has exacerbated that?
· Is the country (participating in the panel) signatory to the UN convention on refugees? What are the legislative and policy framework in the country and the Human rights Framework that they use to ensure basic amenities and human rights of the refugees?
· Do we see feel there are changes required in the international legislation? What are the changes that are required in current international legislations?
· Suggestion for meeting the refugee challenges better in the future.
What is Structure of Panel discussion? The moderation will be done by a representative from ActionAid India. We expect each participating country/panellist to present their view in the panel discussion keeping in consideration the above areas of discussion. 12-15 minutes will be provided to each speaker in first round. After that the floor will be open for discussions and then based on questions, they will be given further time of 4-5 minutes. A final summing up would be done by the Moderator.
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