After a successful advocacy on various refugee issues in Geneva in the past, Melbourne-based Bhutanese activist, Parsuram Sharma Luital JP, has been selected by the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) to advocate in Geneva as a community representative from Australia.
Supported by the Adult Multicultural Education Services, Luital would participate in the UNHCR Standing Committee Meeting and NGO Consultations in Geneva from June 21-30.
Luital, who is a member of the RCOA’s International Policy Network (IPN) formed in 2009 to create opportunities for international networks and cooperation, would represent various refugee communities including the Bhutanese during Geneva discussion sessions.
“The key focus areas of the IPN include Australia’s engagement with UNHCR, issues in the Asia-Pacific region and development and humanitarian aid for refugees and displaced people, and I am going to discuss the same thing in Geneva,” Luital told BNS over the phone.
As a regular participant of the UNHCR’s executive committee and standing committee meetings, its annual consultations with NGOs and the tripartite consultation on resettlement, Luital said that the most significant achievement in the UNHCR meeting in Geneva could be an opportunity to meet the heads of different divisions and the issues that have been impacting the refugees in the camps and resettled countries.
“On personal visit, such opportunities are never possible. If it is not the RCOA, the voice of refugees from the ground will never reach the highest level in UNHCR,” added he.
He also claimed that he would raise many confidential issues that do not become media stuffs. “I am sure, I can raise such issues and help the UNHCR develop better policies for future.
In 2010, Luital was one of the panel speakers in the side meeting of the International Working Group to monitor the implementation of the excom conclusion on women and girls at risk.
Prior to departing for Geneva, Luital would attend the 2011 Refugee Conference: looking to future and learning from the past – a conference to mark 60 years of the refugee convention in the University of New South Wales in Sydney from June 14-17.
“I am in discussion with friends’ circle within the Bhutanese community to acquire as much information as possible so that I can convey the issues to the UNHCR. I hope, I will be able to get ample of issues for my presentation.”
Reported by Teju Chouhan from Melbourne for BNS