UNHCR Global Appeal 2014-2015 - South-East Asia subregional overview

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 19 Nov 2013 View Original

Working environment

Most countries in South-East Asia do not have any legislation regulating the rights of asylumseekers and refugees, and UNHCR conducts refugee status determination in the absence of a national asylum system. Three countries in South-East Asia have national asylum systems at varying levels of development. One country has limited processing for certain groups under an “admissions board” process.

A number of States without national asylum systems generally consider refugees and asylum-seekers to be illegal migrants, who as such are susceptible to detention, expulsion, refoulement and other serious protection risks. Regarding statelessness, only one State in the subregion has signed the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.

UNHCR advocates for States in the region to ensure an adequate protection space for refugees and stateless people, as well as for the establishment of effective legal and normative frameworks governing international protection.

In the South-East Asian context, where mixedmigration movements prevail, a number of States implement detention, border-control, and restrictive maritime and other policies to manage irregular migration and ensure national security, which at times are detrimental to international protection.
Furthermore, people-smuggling and human-trafficking networks in the sub-region have flourished, along with an increase in irregular maritime movements and a loss of life at sea. The Regional Cooperation Framework being implemented by the Bali Process through the Regional Support Office, and other regional initiatives, are expected to strengthen cooperation in safeguarding refugee protection while countering irregular movements.

The inter-communal conflict that broke out in midand late 2012 in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, which resulted in large-scale internal displacement and the need for emergency humanitarian response inside the country, has also driven a growing number of refugees from Rakhine State to depart to or transit through various countries in the region, including by sea in unseaworthy and overcrowded boats.