2015

Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration (ORAM)

Some of ORAM’s recent 2015 highlights include:

  • Training over 2000 refugee professionals in 14 countries including Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Morocco, South Africa, Senegal, Kenya, Malaysia, India, Malta, Switzerland, and the US;
  • Co-authoring the EASO guide to constructing country of origin information (COI) on sexual and gender minorities;
  • Releasing a glossary of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) terms for humanitarian professionals in five languages (English, French, Turkish, Farsi, Arabic);
  • Completing the first-ever empirical study on the impact of training refugee professionals;
  • Completing a SOGI toolkit for refugee professionals;
  • Issuing a comprehensive COI report on sexual and gender minorities in Uganda;
  • Addressing the UN Security Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people fleeing the Islamic State; and
  • Protecting the Arabic-speaking LGBT refugee community living in Turkey through advocacy, capacity building, and legal representation.

ORAM is also in the process of updating its website, which will contain a searchable database for refugee professionals, including COI, case law, and bibliography of scholarly articles.

Refugee Law Project (RLP)

As part of the lead-up to 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (25 November – 10 December 2015), Refugee Law Project will be joining the Uganda Police Force (UPF) to conduct a week-long training for police instructors at the national training school from 16 – 20 November. The training will serve as a reaffirmation of the UPF’s commitment to tackling conflict-related sexual violence and to ensuring forced migrants’ access to justice in Uganda.

On 17 November, RLP’s film “Men Can be Raped Too” was launched online; please click this link to view it. The film was scripted, directed, filmed, and acted in by members of Men of Hope, a support group of male refugees who are survivors of sexual violence and torture. The online launch coincided with a speech to the British House of Lords’ Sexual Violence in Conflict Committee by RLP Director, Chris Dolan.

Center for Forced Migration Studies (Northwestern University)

On 1 November, Dr. Galya Ruffer, founding director of the Center for Forced Migration Studies, participated on the response panel for ‘Tikkun Olam,’ a multi-media lecture on how the sharing of experiences by survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is changing the movement to end SGBV.

Halina Niec Legal Aid Center

The Halina Nieć Legal Aid Center (HNLAC) is currently focusing on providing legal assistance to asylum seekers and foreigners in return proceedings. In relation to the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, a series of fact finding missions and analyses are also under way, in order to assess the possibility of change of migration routes and mass transit of refugees and migrants via Poland. In preparation for the implementation of the resettlement and relocation plans for Syrian refugees throughout the European Union, HNLAC’s team is taking Arabic language classes and a network of Arabic-speaking volunteer interpreters has been set up.

HNLAC recently published two important reports: Protecting Stateless persons from arbitrary detention in Poland (as part of HNLAC’s cooperation with the European Network on Statelessness), and Countering Trafficking in Human Beings in Poland, 2014/I – VI/2015 (both available in English).  Please follow this link to access the reports.

HIAS

On 8 November, Riva Silverman, HIAS’ vice president for external affairs, appeared on In the Arena, a weekly radio programme covering current events from a Catholic perspective, and spoke about the need to help out with the ongoing refugee crisis. Click on this link to listen to the programme.

Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK)

From 3 – 8 August, RCK conducted the 2nd Annual Regional Course on Forced Migration at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi. The theme for this year’s Course was, ‘Alternatives to camps or solutions, what next?’

In line with the theme, the Course sessions covered a range of topics, to include:  an introduction to forced migration, ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors for forced migrants, the history of international and regional refugee law, UNHCR’s Mandate, the refugee status determination process, refugee management in East African countries, durable solutions for refugees, UNHCR’s urban policy, and alternatives to camps. Special sessions covered during the Course included the protection of vulnerable groups, alternatives to immigration detention, statelessness, mainstreaming of forced displacement in the development agenda, and protection of persons displaced in the context of natural disasters.

The Course sessions were facilitated by partners working in refugee management in Kenya and internationally, including the Refugee Law Project (RLP), UNHCR, Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the International Detention Coalition (IDC), the World Bank, and the Nansen Initiative.

A total of 55 participants attended and were representatives of various organizations in Rwanda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Burundi, Tanzania, and Uganda.  Among these participants were the Deputy Commissioners of Refugee Affairs from Somalia, the Deputy Commissioner of Refugee Affairs from Rwanda, and four representatives from the refugee community in Kenya.

Following the success of the 2015 Course, RCK will endeavor to tackle the following objectives in future Courses:

  • Develop a curriculum that can be disseminated to various stakeholders as a Training of Trainers resource;
  • Offer the Course online;
  • Explore the feasibility of conducting the Annual Regional Course on Forced Migration in another country, based on the countries represented in the 2015 Course; and
  • Increase the representation and participation by regional and international participants in the Course.