Asylum Access Calls for Localized Protection and Equitable Partnerships at the 2023 Global Refugee Forum

Asylum Access will attend the upcoming Global Refugee Forum 2023 (GRF), organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and taking place from December 13-15 in Geneva, Switzerland. Throughout the entire week, we will co-host two events and our delegates will speak at different panels organized on the sidelines of the main event. 

As part of our participation in the world’s largest international gathering on refugees, we will share with key stakeholders a new position paper on Localized Protection and an early release of our new position paper on Equitable Partnerships and its Accountability Toolkit. We will also be distributing a Roster of Equity Consultants who can support learning journeys in the forced displacement sector. 

On December 12, we will co-host a Linked Event titled “The Only Real Protection is Local”, in collaboration with the Africa Refugee-Led Network (ARN) and the International Development Research Center (IDRC). Moderated by Deepa Nambiar, Director of Partnerships at Asylum Access, the panel will bring together scholars and practitioners to articulate the value of local protection and share best practices regarding its funding. 

Hui Ying Tham, Executive Director of Asylum Access Malaysia; Zachary Lomo, Independent researcher and consultant; Jean Paul Kasika, Executive Director, RELON KENYA and Vice-chairperson, Africa Refugee-led Network; and Annette Mbogoh, Executive Director, Kituo cha Sheria will be discussing localized protection as a core imperative in any refugee response.  The event will take place from 11:00 to 13:00 (CET) at the Impact Hub Geneva (per invitation only) and will be open to the public interested in joining online

On the same day, from 14:00 – 16:00 (CET), Asylum Access’ Deepa Nambiar will be speaking at the in-person Linked Event “Advancing Refugee Leadership and Participation as a Core Element of the ‘Whole-of-Society Approach,” organized by Act for Peace, the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees, the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney, and the International Council of Voluntary Agencies. The panel will discuss the potential of refugee-led initiatives and share tools to engage with these communities effectively.

Also on December 12, from 17:00 – 18:30 (CET), our CEO Sana Ali Mustafa will be part of an in-person panel at the Impact Hub on “Shifting Power, decision-making and funding: Refugee leadership in humanitarian responses” organized by the Global Refugee-Led Network, ODI, Development Initiatives, and Oxfam. Speakers will be discussing how to ensure refugee leadership in humanitarian response, particularly by shifting funding to Refugee-Led Organizations. 

On December 15 at 11:00 (CET), Sana Ali Mustafa will moderate the panel discussion “From refugee inclusion to shifting power: Building a global refugee sector that actually works,” organized by Refugees International, The New Humanitarian, and Asylum Access to evaluate the progress, effectiveness, impact, and next steps for the refugee leadership movement.  The event is accepting registrations for in-person and virtual participation.

In addition to our CEO and Director of Partnerships, the Asylum Access delegation will also include our Chief Development Officer, Lisa D’Annunzio, our Communications Director, Mariela Hoyer Starcevic, our Communications and Creative Manager, Simon McDonagh, and our national organizations’ leadership: Naiyana Thanawattho, Executive Director of Asylum Access Thailand, Hui Ying Tham, Executive Director of Asylum Access Malaysia, and Alberto Argüelles Program Sub-Coordinator of Asylum Access Mexico.

A space by refugees, for refugees

Over the last few months, Asylum Access has been working together with the Resourcing Refugee Leadership Initiative, the Open Society Foundation, the Robert Bosch Foundation, R-SEAT, Refugees International, the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees, the Global Refugee-Led Network, the Hilton Foundation, the Ikea Foundation, Porticus and Women connectors to create the R-Space, a space run by refugees, for refugees in the context of the GRF.

From 11 December to 15 December the Impact Hub Geneva will welcome refugees from diverse backgrounds, led by a shared commitment to shaping a better future. The R-space will be a powerful space that will increase accessibility to essential resources for refugees and host empowering, thought-provoking events.  

RRLI at the GRF

The Resourcing Refugee Leadership Initiative (RRLI), a coalition of 6 refugee-led organizations including Asylum Access, convened by us in 2021, will also be at the GRF. RRLI will be presenting publications on Funding Refugee-Led Organizations and Trauma informed guidelines for organizing spaces including people of forced displacement.

The coalition will be hosting a relationship-building event, bringing together donors and grantees at the Impact Hub on December 12, at 14:00. On December 15, at 14:00,  RRLI will host a playback theater performance, which will create an opportunity for forcibly displaced individuals that have participated in the GRF to provide feedback on the global event and to compile recommendations to be shared later with UNHCR. The performance is open to the public and will be live-streamed through RRLI’s social media platforms.

RRLI Coalition representative Ibrahim Abou Senna, from Cairo’s Saint Andrew’s Refugee Services (StARS), will be a panelist at the parallel high-level event “Access to protection: Asylum Systems, Legal Assistance, and Human Rights” on December 14, 1:15 pm – 3:00 pm at Palexpo. This is a hybrid event.

RRLI’s Director of Programs, Hane Alrustm, will also be a panelist at the parallel high-level event “Meaningful Refugee Participation: How Partnerships with Forcibly Displaced and Stateless People Improve Policies and Solutions”, on December 14, from 4:15 pm – 5:30 pm at Palexpo. This is a hybrid event.