Advocacy Program

refugee-bill-PR2-300x600Through its advocacy program, TCR seeks to campaign for more sustainable national, regional and international public policy and legal reforms related to refugees and stateless persons.

On the international level, TCR has utilized the United Nations Human Rights Council process on Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to advocate for the rights of refugees and stateless persons in Thailand. TCR provided inputs and comments to the National Report of Thailand regarding refugees and stateless persons. Our contribution was reflected during the Thailand’s Universal Periodic Review held on 5 October, 2011 in Geneva.

On the regional level, TCR cooperates with Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) to raise awareness on refugee rights in ASEAN. Veerawit Tianchaninan, Founder and Executive Director of TCR, serves as the Chair of Southeast Asia Working Group and is on the Steering Committee. TCR and APRRN co-hosted for the first time in ASEAN, a session on refugee and statelessness at ASEAN Civil Society Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia in May 2011. TCR will strengthen our position on the advocacy for this issue and advocate for establishment of regional mechanism to promote and protect the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons in ASEAN at the next ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN Peoples’ Forum. In addition, TCR is a member of the Regional Task Force on ASEAN and Human Rights, a network of human rights NGOs under the umbrella of Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA) Working Group on ASEAN focusing on human rights standard setting and institution building within ASEAN. It aims to make ASEAN and its human rights mechanisms more accountable and effective.

On the national level, TCR is a focal point for refugee and statelessness advocacy. TCR organized on June 20, 2011 the commemoration of World Refugee Day through a joint-event with the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network in Bangkok. During the event, the TCR’s refugee bailout fund was officially launched. The event also gave one of the refugees from the previously released Ahmadi group the opportunity to share their experiences as refugees coming to Thailand and how TCR has given them new hope for a better life. TCR also handed over 35 computers to the refugee and stateless communities donated from Bank of Ayudhya Public Company Limited, Thai companies and individual Thais. Dr. Niran  Pitakwatchara, National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, Dr. Sriprapha Petcharamesree, Thailand’s Representative to ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights, Somchai Homlaor from Human Rights and Development Foundation & National Commissioner on Law Reform, and Dr. Vitit  Muntarbhorn, Professor of Law, Chulalongkorn University participated in the event.

Currently, TCR is advocating for two significant domestic legal reforms. Building on the momentum of what TCR has achieved, TCR launched a campaign for the Draft Bill on Domestic Legislation for refugees in Thailand. The proposed Bill would provide the very first attempt to establish a national legal framework to protect refugees and asylum seekers in Thailand. The minimum of 10,000 signatures need to be collected from Thai citizens for the draft bill to get tabled at parliament – if passed it would offer a real and sustainable solution to the persistent refugee problem in Thailand. (Click here to download an easy-to-read summary of the proposed Bill.)

 

TCR is also pushing for the Amendment of the Immigration Act particularly sections regarding arrest and detention of asylum-seekers, refugees and stateless persons. TCR is participating in the Immigration Act Working Group appointed by the National Human Rights Commission in Thailand comprised of key government agencies. In addition, TCR closely cooperates with various research organizations on pushing for evidence-based advocacy.