AUSTRALASIAN CHAPTER REPORT July 2009
The Chapter now has members in Australia, New Zealand, India, South Korea and Japan and is continuing its outreach programme in the Asia and Pacific region. Special advisor Tony North is currently following up judicial contacts in Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea and Chapter chair Rolf Driver is pursuing potential contacts in Thailand, China and Vietnam. The Chapter is being supported in its efforts by the UNHCR and the Federal Court of Australia. The Australian Government has also expressed its support. New Zealand members Allan Mackey and Rodger Haines have played a key role in developing contacts in Japan and South Korea.
Tony North is travelling in Asia and Europe in July and August and will attend the governing council meeting in Paris on 27 July. Tony and Sebastiaan will also be holding talks in Geneva with the UNHCR after the governing council meeting.
Rolf Driver will attend the Asian International Law Conference in Tokyo on 1 and 2 August 2009, together with former President Allan Mackey and Justice Katju from the Supreme Court of India. A symposium on refugee law will be conducted at the University of Tokyo after the conference at which Allan Mackey, Justice Katju and Rolf Driver will participate. A meeting has also been arranged with the Supreme Court of Japan. It is likely that the conference will provide the opportunity to develop new contacts and to foster existing contacts with Asian decision makers and academics in the refugee and human rights fields.
The Australasian Chapter is very pleased to welcome our President Sebastiaan de Groot's colleague Judge Jitta Miedema from Haarlem who is visiting Western Australia in July. Rolf Driver has arranged, through his Court colleagues in Perth, the opportunity for Judge Miedema to meet decision makers there and view a refugee hearing.
Rolf Driver will be visiting Haarlem in September as part of a European tour and will hopefully be able to participate in a European seminar at that time.
2010 Regional Conference and Training Workshop
The Chapter is continuing planning for a training workshop and Asia Pacific regional conference on 10-12 February 2010 in Sydney. The workshop and conference will be conducted in association with the UNHCR and the University of New South Wales. The first two days will be taken up with a training workshop for regional decision makers and the third day will be the regional conference, which the Chapter plans will have a particular focus on the issue of complementary protection. The Australian government has enthusiastically supported this initiative and has provided a contact officer to liaise with the Association as plans are developed for the workshop and conference. The Chapter has established a working group headed by Development Director Sue Zelinka to continue planning for this event. Several highly regarded academic speakers have expressed interest in attending the conference. It is likely that speakers will also be invited from both the UNHCR and the Australian Government for the conference and a dinner which will be held at the end of the training workshop.
The conference and workshop will be a major financial undertaking for the Chapter and is likely to place some strain on the financial resources of the Chapter. With this in mind, the Chapter will be seeking financial support from all available sources. The Development Director Sue Zelinka will play a key role in the planning for the conference. The Chapter now wishes to put her position on a viable long term footing and will put a funding proposal to the Governing Council.