Episode 63 - Refugee Resettlement with Jaz Dawson
For many years the world has been facing the biggest mass movement of people since the second world war. Destabilized countries like Syria, Yemen, and Libya have seen millions seeking safety in neighbouring countries and beyond ethnic violence continues to be a driver of displacement in places like Myanmar.
In previous episodes we've looked at the topic of seeking asylum in Australia and for anyone interested in that I recommend going back and listening to Episode 42 with Hazari refugee Hedayat Osyan. But today we're looking at the specific issue of how the world can provide safe resettlement for officially recognised refugees such as those in UNHCR camps. That peak body, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, reports that 1.4 million people are in need of urgent resettlement right now. Global resettlement needs to increase by 1% globally in 2020. So how might that happen? How are policy makers looking to innovate the idea of refugee resettlement to provide more people with access to a safe community to live their lives and raise their families?
In this episode, we bring you Caspar's conversation with 29 year old Refugee Research and Policy Analyst Dr Jaz Dawson. Jaz has studied international relations, and refugee law and policy in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the UK, the Netherlands, and Canada. She has volunteered with refugee populations in Lesvos, Greece and Sangkhlaburi, Thailand and now works with the Refugee Hub incubating and growing ideas that have the potential to transform the refugee resettlement landscape. Prior to this, Jaz completed her PhD on queering refugee law and international relations from the University of Melbourne, Australia. During this time, she was also a director of Kaleidoscope Human Rights Foundation, an LGBTI non-profit based in Australia and a member of the Commonwealth Equality Network, the first accredited LGBTI organization in the Commonwealth.
As you can tell, Jaz is extremely well qualified on this topic and brings a wealth of both academic and first hand knowledge to our conversation. In the podcast they discuss the broad legal landscape of refugee law globally and domestically. Jaz outlined how refugee resettlement is currently practiced in various countries and particularly in commonwealth nations such as the UK, Canada and Australia. She talked about the option of using skilled migration programs for resettlement - recognising that many refugees are highly skilled engineers, doctors, and other sought after workers. Jaz shares the promising model of community sponsorship, which allows individuals or groups in a community to take on the responsibility of resettlement directly. She also covered the particular issues around how queer asylum seekers are assessed for refugee status and the biases and assuptions that exist around what is means to be same-sex attracted.
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