The Project of Compilation and Documentation on Refugees and Migrants, CDR

This project began with the intention to share the knowledge gained by research related to refugees and migrants with the society at large, through lectures and other public events. The project was run under the lecture series “Refugees and Migrants” from 2010 to 2015 with the generous support by Hogakukan, Ltd. Since then, the project has continued as a core of the Research Center for Sustainable Peace (RCSP), with active engagement by various researchers and practitioners involved in the lecture series.

More than 60 million people in the world are said to be forcibly displaced, including refugees and IDPs. We are being challenged not only with response to mass displacement related to conflicts such as in Afghanistan and Syria (humanitarian protection), but also with response to persecution against individual political activists and minorities (legal protection). Universities in particular are expected to take on such global issues as research entities and as providers of education.

CDR has been involved in the Asia Network on Refugee and International Protection (ANRIP). ANRIP was established for the purpose of improving the quality of refugee status determination in Asia according to international standards, at an international symposium hosted by CDR and Human Security Program (HSP) at the University of Tokyo in November 2014. It is a network of people with various backgrounds, such as government officials, judges, attorneys, researchers, and staff of international organizations and NGOs. After having the first conference in the Philippines in January 2016, ANRIP members met in Seoul, Korea in June 2016 on the occasion of IARLJ (International Association of Refugee Law Judges) conference, and had another conference in Hong Kong in November 2016.

Also, CDR established the Refugee Policy Platform (RPP) in 2015 as a forum to discuss refugee policy issues in Japan. RPP has held public seminars with the participation of various stakeholders such as the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, legal professionals, NGOs, and academia.

Moreover, CDR is working on the “COI (country of origin information) Project”, to contribute to fair refugee status determination. In order for asylum seekers to be accorded legal protection as refugees, they must show that they have “a well founded fear of being persecuted”, as stipulated in Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. COI is used, for example, for the finding of facts upon which the law is applied, and CDR is working to provide such COI pro bono. It is a unique initiative from an academic institution and is recognized as a highly professional and useful social contribution by UNHCR. This project has had cooperation from a private company from the viewpoint of corporate social responsibility, and has helped to strengthen CDR’s social and international network.

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