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Throughout 2017, the Statelessness Network Asia Pacific (SNAP) facilitated four interactive capacity-strengthening webinars. The webinars were open to both members and non-members of SNAP. The recordings of the webinars can be accessed below.  

Webinar # 4 - Research based advocacy

Information session by the Norwegian Refugee Council, Myanmar. © José Arraiza

Information session by the Norwegian Refugee Council, Myanmar. © José Arraiza

Research-based advocacy is one mechanism by which civil society actors in collaboration with UN agencies and governments have effectively addressed statelessness in particular contexts.

On 15 December 2017, our presenters Amal de Chickera, Co-Director of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, and José María Arraiza, Information, Counseling and Legal Assistance (ICLA) Specialist with the Norwegian Refugee Council's Myanmar country office, explored the topic "Research-based advocacy".  The discussion focused on relevant research methodologies and lessons learned from research-based advocacy projects undertaken in Asia and Europe. 




Amal de Chickera is one of the Institute’s Co-Directors and is based in the United Kingdom. He leads the Institute’s human rights engagement work. He also plays an important part in the Institute’s work on childhood statelessness, gender discrimination and the Sustainable Development Agenda, and on the Institute’s engagement with civil society and the arts.  Amal has researched, advocated, written, spoken, delivered training and served as an expert on statelessness and related issues for the UN, NGOs and academia, since 2008. He is particularly interested in the nexus between statelessness and discrimination and its implications on access to other rights. Before co-founding the Institute, Amal provided the lead on the Equal Rights Trust’s statelessness work. He was also one of the co-founders of the European Network on Statelessness, and is a founding member of Stages – a Sri Lankan theatre group. A human rights lawyer and member of the Sri Lankan Bar, Amal holds an LLM (Distinction) from University College London and an LLB (Hons.) from the University of Colombo.

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Dr José María Arraiza is currently managing a project on legal identity rights which provides facilitated access to civil documents to vulnerable communities in South East Myanmar, for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).  Mobile teams of NRC staff and local authorities travel to remote areas affected by the recent conflicts and provide official ID cards free of charge through a One Stop Service (a mobile office) in cooperation with the government. In addition, NRC in Myanmar conducts information, counselling and capacity building activities as well as field-based research which is used for advocacy purposes in the areas of legal identity as well as Housing, Land and Property rights. Since the beginning of the programme in 2012, NRC has facilitated the issuance of more than 500,000 official ID cards in Myanmar. 


Webinar # 3 - Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS): An Important Tool for Addressing Statelessness

Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) is the continuous, permanent, compulsory and universal recording of the occurrence and characteristics of vital events of the population in accordance with the law. Vital events can include births, marriages, adoptions, divorces and deaths.

During SNAP’s third webinar on 28 September 2017 our presenters, Laura Bingham (Managing Legal Officer at the Open Society Justice Initiative) and Clara Siagian (Technical Associate for Birth Registration at PUSKAPA - the Centre on Child Protection and Wellbeing, University of Indonesia) discussed how accurate and universal CRVS systems are essential for addressing statelessness. 



Laura Bingham serves as managing legal officer for the equality/citizenship issue area of the Open Society Justice Initiative. Laura previously worked as a litigation associate at Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP, based in New York and as a law clerk to U.S. district court judges Hon. Lawrence F. Stengel (Eastern District of Pennsylvania) and Hon. Raymond J. Dearie (Chief Judge, Eastern District of New York). She received a JD from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Order of the Coif. During law school, Laura worked for the ICTR as a legal intern and spent a semester in Senegal researching the potential trial of former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré, for torture and crimes against humanity. Before law school, she completed a master’s degree in human rights law at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, made possible through a Rotary International Ambassadorial scholarship.

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Clara Siagian is recognised as a leader on engaging with decision makers and civil society actors as to the importance of CRVS as a human rights and development issue. Clara is currently working on a research project with Indonesian Ministry of Planning and Development on Civil Registration and Basic Services as part of her role as the Technical Associate for Birth Registration with PUSKAPA (Centre on Child Protection and Wellbeing, University of Indonesia). She is also a member of Suaka, the Indonesian Civil Society Network for Refugee Rights Protection.  Previously, Clara worked with the World Bank on disability mapping in Eastern Indonesia. Clara is SNAP's Focal Point on CRVS.

Webinar # 2 - Childhood Statelessness



For our second webinar on 4 July 2017 our presenters, Stephen Blight of UNICEF’s East Asia and Pacific Regional Office and Nicholas Oakeshott of UNHCR’s Regional Office in Bangkok considered the topic of “Childhood Statelessness”. 

This included a discussion of the causes and consequences of childhood statelessness, and potential strategies for addressing childhood statelessness.


Stephen Blight is the Child Protection Advisor for UNICEF's East Asia and Pacific Regional Office.  In this role, he provides technical support and oversight of UNICEF's child protection programmes in 13 country offices in the region.  There is a specific focus in his work on building national child protection systems to prevent and respond to violence against children, to improve access to justice, to strengthen birth registration, and to address child protection in humanitarian and cross-border settings. In preparation for this role, Stephen led UNICEF's child protection work from 2006 to 2014 in three major country programmes:  Sudan, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Prior to his work with UNICEF, Stephen served as Country Director and Deputy Country Director for Save the Children in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia; Programme Representative for Oxfam GB in Algeria; and Country Representative for CARE International in Zaire and Burundi.  Stephen is also an accomplished socio-economist with professional specialization in rural development, including research and practice in community agriculture, fisheries and livestock development in Guinea, Kenya and Thailand.  Stephen began his professional career as an evaluation specialist with the Canadian International Development Agency.  Stephen has obtained a Bachelor's of Environmental Studies Degree from the University of Waterloo and a Master's Degree in Human Geography from Carleton University.

Nicholas Oakeshott is the Regional Protection Officer (Statelessness) at UNHCR’s Regional Office for Southeast Asia, providing technical support and strategic guidance to UNHCR’s activities under statelessness mandate in 13 countries in the region and leading UNHCR’s engagement with ASEAN on this issue. He also acts as UNHCR’s focal point on the regional initiative to improve Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) in Asia and the Pacific and on the Global CRVS Group.  Before joining UNHCR, he began his career by practising as a barrister in the UK and working in a number of roles for NGOs that specialised in providing legal advice and representation to asylum seekers and refugees. He was also a visiting lecturer at the University of Westminster, City University and the College of Law. He jointly supervised, researched and wrote the study entitled 'Mapping Statelessness in the United Kingdom', which was published in 2011 and resulted in the UK implementing a Statelessness Determination Procedure.  Nicholas holds a M.A. in Modern History from Oxford University, a Diploma in Law from City University and a LL.M in International Human Rights Law with Distinction from the University of Essex, sharing the prize for the highest academic achievement in the year.

Webinar #1: What is statelessness (and what it is not)

For our first webinar on 1 June 2017, our presenters Professor Chowdhury Abrar and Zahra Albarazi explored the topic “What is statelessness (and what it is not)”.  

This discussion focused on the following sub-topics:

1. The human rights implications of statelessness

2. Statelessness in international law

3. Statelessness in Asia and the Pacific

4. The links between statelessness and gender discrimination, barriers to civil registration and documentation, arbitrary detention and migration




Professor Chowdhury Abrar is the Executive Director at the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) and Professor of International Relations at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. For more than a decade he has conducted research and engaged in advocacy and public interest litigation on behalf of Rohingya communities and the camp-dwelling Urdu speaking community in Bangladesh. Professor Abrar is also SNAP’s Focal Point on Research-based Advocacy.

Zahra Albarazi is a Senior Researcher at the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. Her area of specialisation is the nexus between statelessness and forced displacement, and the link between discrimination and statelessness. This includes work on gender inequality in nationality law. Geographically, her work has focused mainly on statelessness and nationality in the Middle East and Africa region. Alongside her work at the Institute, on Statelessness and Inclusion Ms Albarazi is enrolled as a PhD researcher at Tilburg Law School. She is also a Board member of the Syrian Legal Development Programme. Ms Albarazi has been working on the issue of statelessness since 2010, and has been involved in conducting studies on statelessness for UNHCR, WRC, IRC, NRC the Open Society Justice Initiative and Amel House of Human Rights. She holds an LLM in International Law from Leeds University, and enjoys teaching and training on the issue of statelessness.