New Narratives to the Refugee Crises: Perspectives from the Asia-Pacific

November 30 Thursday


November 30 - December 1 2017





On 30th November and 1st December the Rule of Law Programme Asia organised a Workshop on the topic “New Narratives to the Refugee Crises: Perspectives from the Asia-Pacific“ in Singapore.

Also available in Deutsch

The workshop began with the discussion on the need to develop a sustainable legal framework for the management of refugees. The experts coming from both the region and Europe focused on the question which actors should be involved in a legislative process and which contents legal provisions would need to encompass in order to protect refugees efficiently. Within this topic, also the New York Declaration – the closing declaration of the recent UN Summit on refugees which was held in 2016 – and the two global compacts which have been decided in this context was made subject of the discussion. The compacts – one on Responsibility-sharing for Refugees and one on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration – aim to organize flows of refugees more efficiently worldwide, to better protect their rights and to foster their integration process. A further point of discussion was if the existing “Bangkok Principles on the Status and Treatment of Refugees” embody an efficient legal framework to refugee protection within the region. The following panel was held on “The Intersection of Law and Policy: Evidence-Based and Interdisciplinary Approaches to Refugee Policies” which analysed aspects such as the regulation of the allocation and resettlement of refugees. The first workshop day ended with the discussion of the role of the International Community and International Humanitarian Law with regard to refugee protection. Within this panel, the experts had a special focus on the concept of “Responsibility to Protect” and its practical relevance in dealing with refugee matters. The responsibility to protect embodies an international political commitment of States in order to end the worst forms of violence and persecution as well as breaches of Humanitarian Law. In this context, the experts also made the so-called “Bali-Process” subject to their discussion, an interregional forum founded in 2002 which seeks to facilitate the bilateral and regional cooperation of political stakeholders and practitioners to reduce irregular migration, smuggling, human trafficking and related transnational crime in the Asia and Pacific region. The second day of the workshop started with the topic “The Judiciary as Guardians of the Refugees: Constitution-Based Approaches to Refugee Rights”. The experts shared their practical experiences from the judiciary sector mainly in regards to asylum proceedings and possible ways for judicial reviews in various countries of the region. In the course of the following discussion which addressed the challenges, prospects and opportunities regarding the “Asia-Pacific’s Refugee Quagmire”, the participants debated the current refugee situation within the region, causes of flight and possible solutions. In the final roundtable discussion of the workshop, amongst others the work of regional refugee networks and their influence on states and their refugee policies was addressed. As a final conclusion, the participants agreed on the fact that the current refugee situation in Asia and worldwide requires a steady dialogue between the affected states, the international community and other stakeholders in order to grant efficient protection to refugees.

Contact person

Gisela Elsner

Head of the Rule of Law Programme Asia

Gisela Elsner
Phone +65 6603 6171
Fax +65 6603 6170
Languages: Deutsch,‎ Español,‎ English