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Regional Roundtable on Irregular Migration by Sea in the Asia-Pacific Region 18-20 March 2013 Jakarta, Indonesia.

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Presentation on theme: "Regional Roundtable on Irregular Migration by Sea in the Asia-Pacific Region 18-20 March 2013 Jakarta, Indonesia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Regional Roundtable on Irregular Migration by Sea in the Asia-Pacific Region 18-20 March 2013 Jakarta, Indonesia

2 Key issues for Responses to Irregular Migration by Sea from A Refugee Protection Perspective

3 OUTLINE Complex characteristics of external environment Key protection concerns Responses


5 5 Number of Migrants in the Region More than 13 million migrant workers from ASEAN countries work abroad 5 million work in ASEAN countries 8 million work in non-ASEAN countries Source: ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Seeks to Protect and Promote Migrant Workers Rights, 21 July 2010

6 66 Main Host Countries in the Region Source: UNHCR Annual Statistical Reports 2011. Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand.

7 Causes of Displacement Violence / Armed conflict Poverty Gross human rights abuses Persecution Environment

8 The complex reality of mixed movements by sea Populations on vessels are “mixed” with different profiles and needs (asylum-seekers, UAMs, stateless, trafficking victims) Conditions of boats very poor/inadequate Greater risk of loss of lives (than with overland migration) Complexity of international law and protection regimes applicable to: - Search & rescue at sea – and disembarkation - Interception - Irregular sea arrivals and reception

9 The complex reality of mixed movements by sea (cont.) Push factors (war; poverty; gross human rights violations) are stronger than fears of the journey and hard to reverse despite state responses Unpredictable protection environment given few State protection sensitive systems in place (see in next slide…) Difficult for States to engage and address problem “balancing” right to control borders/duty to preserve national security with international obligation to protect individual rights and human dignity of the “boat people” Only few durable solutions are available

10 10 Legal Protection Environment in South-East Asia Three States have acceded to the 1951 Refugee Convention/ 1967 Protocol The Philippines has ratified the 1954 Stateless Convention while no State has acceded to the 1961 Statelessness Convention. Three States have domestic mechanisms for RSD Use of detention as a migration management tool

11 Key Protection Concerns Protection issues arise in the context of: Threat of loss of life at sea Exposure to abuse & exploitation before/after arrival Lack of access to procedures & support mechanisms Lack of systems to register, identify, process mixed profiles/different protection needs Lack of protection “space” fuels onward movements

12 Responses: Rescue-at Sea Maximise efforts to reduce loss of life at sea Stronger coordination for a timely SAR Assisting coastal states (resources & equipment) to meet their obligations under international maritime law in search and rescue areas

13 Responses: Disembarkation Need to ensure that identification of safe places for disembarkation is predictable and timely Developing mechanisms to address ambiguity on determination of State responsibility for disembarkation Addressing interests of shipping industry in rescue and disembarkation operations Need to uphold old seafaring principle/obligation to render aid to persons in distress

14 Responses: Protection sensitive entry systems and reception Border control systems are protection sensitive and respectful of the principle of non-refoulement New arrivals basic needs are met by appropriate reception arrangements

15 Responses: Profiling & Referral Processes Standardized or differentiated procedures need to be ready available to register, profile and refer persons to appropriate processes (e.g. RSD or procedures for trafficking victims) Profiling should identify new arrival, determine motives of departure, personal needs and address State security concerns

16 Responses: Assessment processes The Regional Cooperation Framework proposes: “Where appropriate and possible, asylum seekers should have access to consistent assessment processes, whether through a set of harmonized arrangements or through the possible establishment of regional assessment arrangements, which might include a centre or centres, taking into account any existing sub-regional arrangements.” [Extraterritorial processing of asylum claims as part of a burden-sharing arrangement, or of a comprehensive cooperative strategy to address mixed movements]

17 Responses: Solutions & Outcomes Assisted voluntary return Voluntary repatriation Resettlement “in country” solutions

18 Responses: Solutions & Outcomes (cont.) The Regional Cooperation Framework suggests: “Persons found to be refugees under those assessment processes should be provided with a durable solution, including voluntary repatriation, resettlement within and outside the region and, appropriate, possible “in country” solutions”. “Persons found not to be in need of protection should be returned, preferably on a voluntary basis, to their countries of origin, in safety and dignity. Returns shoulb sustainable and States should look to maximise opportunities for greater cooperation.”

19 Responses: Regional Cooperation & Burden Sharing Further establish through the operationalization of the RCF, procedures for burden and responsibility sharing to support States providing for : - Disembarkation - Registration, profiling and referral processes - Assessment processes and, or solutions The Model Framework for cooperation following interception, rescue-at-sea and, or sea arrivals involving refugees and a/s traveling as part of irregular movements, could be see as part of the RCF.

20 Thank you !

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