DURABLE SOLUTIONS IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC
There are three durable solutions available to refugees: voluntary repatriation, local integration and resettlement. Those seeking durable solutions within the Asia-Pacific region face significant barriers.
Click here for background information on these three durable solutions.
Efforts are made to repatriate refugees and people seeking asylum, and to assist them to integrate in their local communities, but these efforts are hampered by the fact many countries have not signed the Refugee Convention or 1967 Protocol and have limited national asylum laws and administrative protections in place.
UNHCR is responsible for conducting refugee status determination in 17 countries across Central, South and Southeast Asia. Even following positive UNHCR assessment, refugees and people seeking asylum are often given no formal legal status by the host country, leaving them unable to legally work or access basic services, such as education and healthcare.
Resettlement is a particularly important solution for the region, but there is a significant shortfall in the availability of global resettlement places. UNHCR has deemed that third country resettlement is unrealistic for most people seeking protection in the Asia-Pacific region.
Repatriation and resettlement have historically been favoured over local integration, but with resettlement places not keeping up with demand, and repatriation not an option for many such as the Rohingya from Myanmar, local integration is increasingly being looked towards.
However, countries in the region including Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Indonesia, have indicated the provision of protection is only temporary. Asylum seekers have often been provided with limited employment, education and healthcare rights. Unauthorised migrants, as many are labelled, also face detention, caning and expulsion.
It is a regional priority to address access to protection and durable solutions, particularly in light of the 2015 Andaman Sea crisis, which saw over 5,000 refugees and migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh left stranded at sea and at least 70 dead.
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Last updated March 2017.