The Forced Migration Research Network (FMRN) undertakes advocacy at national, regional and international levels. This includes annual participation at meetings of UNHCR in Geneva to raise issues of concern relating to the protection of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia and in a range of international settings in which the Centre conducts research.
Working in partnership with refugee communities, our advocacy work draws on rigorous academic research to identity gaps and needs in situations of forced migration, and to develop tools and support innovative laws to address identified gaps.
The advocacy work of the Network has achieved important impacts on law, policy and practice at the national, regional and international levels.
We have worked extensively to research and document failures of the International protection system, and the endemic rates of sexual and gender based violence experienced by refugee women and girls.
Our research has resulted in significant advances in international law and social policy, notably the new international law relating to the protection of refugee women and girls at risk was adopted by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations: UNHCR Conclusion on Women and Girls at Risk (105) 2006. This had a significant impact on improving protection frameworks for refugee women and girls including increased funding, resettlement places and improved provision of services.
As part of the Australian Refugee Rights Alliance (ARRA) we attend UNHCR's Annual Consultations with NGOs in Geneva, and UNHCR's Executive Committee (ExCom) or Standing Committee meetings. Participation in these meetings also provides opportunities for high-level advocacy through Side Meetings with UNHCR, State delegates, and other key players. This participation means that we can present our research findings at the highest levels and gain recognition and support for our work with Women at Risk.
In Australia, we work closely with local organisations on issues of policy and practice in refugee protection and resettlement, in particular the Refugee Council of Australia, Amnesty International, Settlement Council of Australia and Act for Peace.
The FMRN has been instrumental in forming, and is an active member of, working groups and networks with peer organisations and advocacy associations, and has conducted cooperative and productive research with refugee services both locally and internationally. Key partnerships include The Australian National Committee on Refugee Women (ANCORW); United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); Australian Refugee Rights Alliance (ARRA); Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) region; Working Group for the Conclusion on Women and Girls at Risk (CWGR).
Through our reciprocal research the FMRN provides a platform and training to empower refugees and displaced peoples to act as their own advocates. Following a process of storytelling and storyboarding, research participants are encouraged to present the outcomes of the consultations to NGOs, service providers, and other people in power, making their recommendations for change. Often this is the first time that the researched group will have had the opportunity to interact with those who have power over their lives.