New Zealand – Philippines

Timeframe: 2021-2022
Type: Technical
Regions: Asia-Pacific
Contributors: States

Who are involved:

Immigration New Zealand | Department of Justice-Refugees and Stateless Persons Protection Unit (DOJ-RSPPU)
New Zealand's GRF Asylum Offer:
Support protection capacity within the Pacific region; Working with the UNHCR and Pacific States to support Pacific States to develop and strengthen their asylum systems and protection capacity. This support will be undertaken through the Asylum Capacity Support Group (ACSG); and In-line with existing support to governance systems in the Pacific region and in conjunction with New Zealand’s broader commitments in the Pacific region. This could include technical assistance and training and sharing good practices on policy, process and procedures design and implementation. 

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Philippine's GRF Asylum Commitment:
  1. To enhance policy, legal, and operational framework to ensure full access to rights of refugees as guaranteed by the 1951 Refugee Convention…”; The Philippines generally has a favorable protection environment for refugees and asylum seekers, but there are measures that may be taken by the State to further enhance and address gaps in this mechanism. The Philippines will pursue the enactment of a comprehensive law for refugees and stateless persons and the issuance of an Executive Order that would solidify the commitments of different agencies towards the protection of persons of concern (POCs). The finalization of these legal instruments would ensure that the entire population of POC of around 1,000 in the Philippines will continue to have their rights upheld while in the country.
  2. To enhance South-South cooperation through technical assistance on developing national asylum procedures…”; Despite its resource limitations, the Philippines is proud that its mechanisms on refugees and asylum seekers remain functional and accessible. Representatives from Government agencies have served as resource persons in different countries to share experiences in implementing these policies. As the Philippine Government strives to further develop its capacity on these issues, it welcomes the idea of undertaking knowledge-sharing activities with other countries while also learning good practices from them. Another area where the Philippines can share its expertise is on labor migration. This can support countries hosting refugee populations in attaining economic development and mitigating the economic impact of hosting large refugee populations.

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Summary of Support

The New Zealand Government, through its Immigration Department of the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE), has supported the Philippine Government, through the Department of Justice-Refugees and Stateless Persons Protection Unit (DOJ-RSPPU) in strengthening its capacity in relation to Country of Origin Information (COI).

Within this support, New Zealand’s Country Research Unit (CRU) under MBIE and Philippines’s DOJ-RSPPU has worked collaboratively on the following thematic areas: 

1) Strengthening the capacity of the RSPPU, by advising on the skills useful in personnel for COI research

2) Sharing a checklist on COI quality standards, and

3) Recommending online trainings on the COI research process

This support aims to enhance the COI capacity in Philippines and contribute to enhancing the quality of its asylum procedures. Discussions between the two countries are ongoing and the precise scope of the activities, when finalized, will be available on this page.

The New Zealand-Philippines supports through the ACSG follows previous engagements on asylum strengthening initiatives between the two governments. The Philippines made observation visits to New Zealand between 2012 and 2014. These visits paved the way for capacity strengthening initiatives for the Philippines conducted by Appellate Justices of New Zealand between 2013 and 2014, leading to the Philippines’ participation in the Asian Network for Refugees and International Protection (ANRIP) beginning in 2014.

Working within the ACSG framework will ensure sustainability of past capacity strengthening efforts.