Thailand: World Refugee Day in Bangkok’s Immigration Detention Centre
This year, JRS Immigration Detention Project organised a World Refugee Day event for the refugees to meet, talk and have lunch with their families. JRS worked with IOM and IDCC to have a lunch and cultural event for families. “…I thank every officer at JRS for understanding the human feelings and bringing the refugees downstairs for the family day and for giving respect to the refugee rights and arranging this day within many difficulties…”
Australia: Barbecue, Ignation syle
Students from St Igantius’ College, Riverview commemorated St Ignatius’ Feast Day by hosting nine asylum seekers currently staying at Blaiket House in Sydney, a shelter for asylum seekers. “The students took them on a tour of the school and shared a BBQ with them, and they played soccer, baseball and Frisbee,” said JRS’ project coordinator, Louise Stack. “None of the guys knew how to play baseball, so they really enjoyed that!” The invitation was an opportunity for students to interact with asylum seekers from around the world – Senegal, Iran, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, North Korea and Turkey – and for the men to experience some calm in an uncertain situation.
Asia Pacific: 12 million stateless
Asia hosts most of the world’s stateless people, according to the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR). There are 12 million stateless people living in the world today, and 30 million babies are unregistered every year in Asia. Thailand hosts 20% of the world’s stateless people, 2.5 million, down from 3.5 million in 2010. Without being registered or having citizenship, children and adults risk having limited access to health care, education and work opportunities. These people become vulnerable to illegal activity, human trafficking and exploitation.
Thailand: Flooding in Mae Hong Son
JRS staff in Mae Hong Son, Thailand witnessed a flood and landslide in Ban Mai Surin camp destroying 21 families’ homes. In addition, the road to and inside the camp was damaged, the river bank eroded and two bridges were damaged. A primary school hosted affected families who are now rebuilding their homes. Schools were closed for two weeks and classes have resumed. International NGOs provided tools, food and other supplies to people who are beginning to rebuild.
Asia Pacific: United Nations consultations
JRS Asia Pacific participated in the annual UNHCR consultations in Geneva where JRS raised issues such as the length it takes for an asylum seeker to be declared a refugee and promoted more transparency in the process. JRS also discussed a strategy for the year focusing on alternatives to detention in the region.