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Resolving Statelessness in Asia and the Pacific: IHRP joins forces with the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) and UNHCR to address statelessness

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Press Release

June 17, 2015

Civil Society in the Asia Pacific agrees to unite to end statelessness

BANGKOK, June 17 – Civil society groups in the Asia and the Pacific have agreed to set up a new and dedicated network to prevent and eradicate statelessness in the region and advocate for the right of every person to a nationality.

This commitment was announced on Tuesday at the end of a two-day Civil Society retreat on Resolving Statelessness in Asia and the Pacific held at Mahidol University in Salaya, Thailand. The retreat was organised jointly by the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN), the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies at Mahidol University and UNHCR. It drew over 40 participants from non-governmental organizations and academia in 14 countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Republic of Korea and Thailand.

Globally at least 10 million people are believed to be stateless, that is to say that they are not considered nationals by any State. While data has improved over the years, currently reliable information is only available for some 3.5 million people of concern under UNHCR’s statelessness mandate, of whom more than 40 per cent live in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Statelessness is an anomaly,” said Professor Sriprarapha Petcharamsesree, Acting Director of the Institute of Human Rights of Peace Studies at Mahidol University. “In order to correct this academics and researchers in the region should ensure that the situation of people without a nationality and uncertain legal status is better understood and that decisions that are made about them also include them.”

Anoop Sukumaran, Executive Director of APRRN, added, “Statelessness and forced migration are often integrally linked. Statelessness is a key cause of forced displacement and the children of refugees born in exile are particularly at risk of being left without a nationality.”

UNHCR has the goal of ending statelessness globally by 2024 and this is one of the agency’s regional priorities in Asia and the Pacific.

“Past successes have shown us that civil society is key to preventing and reducing statelessness in the region,” said Alistair Boulton, UNHCR’s Assistant Regional Representative for Protection in Bangkok. “We warmly welcome the decision to establish a new network to contribute to the resolution of statelessness.”

During the retreat, UNHCR launched the 10-point Global Action Plan to end statelessness by 2024 to civil society in the region which focuses on resolving current situations of statelessness and preventing statelessness from occurring in the future. Speakers from civil society shared achievements in helping Governments to resolve situations of statelessness in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Ramiah Yogarajan, a Member of Parliament in Sri Lanka, described a series of amendments that were made to Sri Lankan nationality law to ensure citizenship for persons of Indian origin whose ancestors had migrated in colonial times. Nationality documentation was issued to new citizens in 2004 by the Government with the support of the Ceylon Workers Congress and UNHCR.

“The political consensus reflected in the 2003 Act being passed unanimously by the Sri Lankan Parliament was a unique achievement of reconciliation in the midst of ethnic conflict,” he noted.

A core group of academics, experts and NGO staff took responsibility for developing the network and continuing consultations with stateless people and other stakeholders and to build upon the positive momentum that has come out of the retreat.

SHAPE SEA: Call for Academic Research Exchange

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The newly launched Strengthening Human Rights and Peace Research and Education in ASEAN/Southeast Asia (SHAPE-SEA) project funded by SIDA, Sweden, aims to develop the capacity of Universities in the SEA region to contribute to the improvement of the human rights and peace situation in Southeast Asia through applied research.Under this project, academics throughout Southeast Asia (SEA) are invited to submit proposals for an Academic Research Exchange on human rights and peace, to be supported by SHAPE SEA.

IHRP Professor presents at Asian Perspectives on Film, Literature, and Society conference

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Professor Coeli Barry presented on “The Changing Character of Christian Conversion in Buddhist Thailand” at the Cultural Encounters: Asian Perspectives on Film, Literature, and Society conference. The conference was jointly organized by The English Department Research Cluster, Yonsei University, South Korea and the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. It was held at the University of Nottingham Malaysia (city campus), 15-16 May, 2015.

Link to event:


 Link to Yonsei University:


Contributing to the Global Classroom: IHRP Professor presents at the European Inter-University Centre in Venice, Italy

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Recently, IHRP’s Professor Matthew Mullin took part in the Global Classroom 3rd Session hosted at the European Inter-University Centre (EIUC) for Human Rights and Democratization in Venice, Italy. The Global Classroom is an activity designed to strengthen the integration of the Master’s Programs and Diplomas in Human Rights and Democratization of the Global Campus. The focus for the 3rd Session dealt with the impact on human rights of foreign debt and economic crises. The goal for the session was meant to provide an in-depth analysis of the same topic through the lenses of the different macro-regional perspectives.

Professor Mullin contributed to the Global Classroom 3rd Session with his presentation on: “Contesting market-based human rights advocacy: the rising importance of collective action in the World's Factory.”

Learn more about Global Classroom:


Update 15-05-2015:Mahidol University and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Scholarship

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Mahidol University and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Scholarship

***EXTENDED DEADLINE: 15 June 2015***

***Scholarships to be filled are currently open for MA candidates

and Nationals from the following countries ONLY:

Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia***

General Information

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with Mahidol University, is proud to provide full scholarships for citizens from Myanmar and least developed countries in Asia to study in the MA in Human Rights (international program) and Ph.D in Human Rights and Peace Studies (international program) at the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University.

Criteria for Qualified Applicants

MA (Human Rights)

  1. Candidates must have a Bachelor’s degree in any field with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.50 or equivalent.
  2. Candidates must have English language proficiency, with an IELTS score of 6.5 or above is required with no band below 6.0.
  3. Candidates must be a Myanmar national or nationals of countries in the least developed countries  in Southeast Asia listed by the World Bank.
  4. Preference will be given to candidates who are attached to a research center or academic institution, or have experience with NGOs, human rights institutions or private human rights/peace entities.
  5. Exceptions to the above qualifications may be made by the Program Committee and the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
  6. Special consideration will be given to candidates from minority and marginalized groups.

Application Requirements

Application Forms

Applicants must submit TWO application forms: one form to study in the IHRP graduate program, MA or PhD, and one form for the scholarship.  Scholarship application forms can be submitted either online through the Faculty of Graduate Studies website (see link below) or by post directly to IHRP at:

ATTN: Academic Program Coordinator

Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies  (IHRP)
Panyaphiphat Building, Mahidol University (Salaya Campus)
Salaya, Phuttamonthon, Nakhon Pathom 73170 THAILAND

Application Documents

Separate from the application materials required for the IHRP graduate programs, scholarship applicants must also submit hardcopies of the following documents by post to:

ATTN: Academic Program Coordinator

Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies  (IHRP)
Panyaphiphat Building, Mahidol University (Salaya Campus)
Salaya, Phuttamonthon, Nakhon Pathom 73170 THAILAND

MA applicants must submit the following:
- Personal statement
- Academic transcript(s)
- English language test certificate(s)
- Curriculum Vitae
- Concept note of prospective research topic

- Reference Forms sent to IHRP directly from referees

Application Deadline: 15 June 2015

For the Faculty of Graduate Studies online application and other information related to the application process for the past round of scholarships, please visit the following link:


For more information about the scholarship please visit the following links:



For more information about the scholarship please contact: ihrp, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it