This is a guide to all things at the intersection of Refugees, Singapore and social change. Feel free to edit if you’d like to improve it!


See Refugee Articles and Refugee Events.
Key People

Names are provided alphabetically, with links provided to LinkedIn accounts where available, else Facebook. Expertise in this area is based on past or current experience, and if there is a link to Singapore in some way.

Annie Tan, Dawn Yen, Eugene Wee, Geraldine Ang, Janet Ang, Jonathan How, Patrick Neo, Robin Low, Vivian Claire Liu, Su-Ann Oh

International Conventions & Networks

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.

Refworld is the leading source of information necessary for taking quality decisions on refugee status. Refworld contains a vast collection of reports relating to situations in countries of origin, policy documents and positions, and documents relating to international and national legal frameworks. The information has been carefully selected and compiled from UNHCR's global network of field offices, Governments, international, regional and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and judicial bodies.

The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees is the key legal document in defining who is a refugee, their rights and the legal obligations of states. The 1967 Protocol removed geographical and temporal restrictions from the Convention.

Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) comprises a network of civil society organizations and individuals committed to advancing the rights of refugees in the Asia Pacific Region through information sharing, mutual capacity building and joint advocacy.

SG Networks & Associations

Refugees SG is a network for individuals and organisations in Singapore to share and learn about the refugee situation in the region.

Jesuit Refugee Service is an international Catholic organisation with a mission to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people. The Singapore branch is based out of St. Ignatius Church, and sends volunteers to work with Malaysian NGO Kumpulan ACTS.

Advocates for Refugees - Singapore (AFR-SG) is an online platform that aims to open up community dialogue on refugee and asylum seeker issues. It began in October 2015, as a response to the lack of constructive platforms for people in Singapore to discuss about issues relating to the refugee crisis in Asia and greater region. AFR-SG aims to generate public consciousness on the plight of refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons, through:

  • Advocacy
  • Public outreach and education
  • Volunteer humanitarian trips with particular refugee organisations / communities

Ordinary and extraordinary Singaporeans, and people living in Singapore - regardless of political affiliation, religion, race and ethnicity - are encouraged to participate in dialogues, explore possible roles we as individuals, as an interest group/community, and as a nation state can play to offer community-driven solutions and to help ameliorate the causes and consequences of forced migration. As advocates, we believe in the importance of raising awareness, facilitating conversations, and addressing misinformed perceptions (e.g. conflating all refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons as "economic migrants" or labelling them as "illegal migrants").

SG Organisations & Companies

Radion International is registered as a Charity under the name of RADION INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION. It is currently the only non-governmental organization serving the Hmong community in the village of Khek Noi – the largest Hmong community in Thailand. Its Community Empowerment and Crisis Relief Program serves a combined population of about 17,000 people, consisting of Hmong-Thai villagers and Hmong-Lao refugees.

Room to Grow Foundation works with refugee orphans and unaccompanied minors from camps along the Thai-Burma border and is currently based in Mae Sot, Thailand.

Relief Singapore (RSG) is a relief agency that provides humanitarian assistance for people forcibly displaced by conflicts, calamities and climate change. It organises relief missions and events to serve their needs, seek durable solutions for them, and advocate on their behalf. RSG's vision is “lasting, livable and loving homes for everyone.” It believes that shelter is a basic human right, and that durable and habitable shelters occupied by loving families are even better. RSG's mission is to promote a relief volunteering lifestyle by training, equipping and sending volunteers on relief missions to help the forcibly displaced.

Key Projects

Refugees SEA is a Raffles Junior College project, committed to awareness-raising and practical aid for refugees living in Southeast Asia, particularly the Burmese and Laotian Hmong refugees living in Thailand.

Refugees United is a free internet search engine proposes a refreshingly simple solution to the problem of reuniting families torn apart as they are forced from their homes by conflict or a disaster. Tapping into social networking technologies, Refugees United aims to help the millions of refugees and people displaced inside their countries each year. The site uses the same principles as websites like Friends Reunited and Facebook to allow people to search and connect with others they know.

Against All Odds is UNHCR’s online interactive game which allows you to put yourself in the shoes of a refugee.

Go Back To Where You Come From. Six ordinary Australians move in with Burmese refugees in Malaysia and are confronted by the harsh realities of their daily struggle to survive. As they forge emotional bonds, the Australians are shocked to learn the Burmese are in constant fear of arrest. During a midnight immigration raid it becomes clear why.

UNHCR announced a new interactive mobile app, My Life as a Refugee, built for iOS and Android, which allow players to experience the real-life decisions that refugees must make to survive and reach safety.

Videos & Publications

Refugees International advocates for lifesaving assistance and protection for displaced people and promotes solutions to displacement crises. It released a new in-depth report - Nationality Rights for All: A Progress Report and Global Survey on Statelessness - evaluating the progress made in protecting the human rights of stateless persons and in preventing and reducing statelessness in over 80 countries worldwide.

fiftyrefugeesMalaysia tells the stories of 50 asylum seekers who have yet to achieve Refugee status in Malaysia.

Please Don’t Say My Name is an audio documentary by Karen Zusman, an independent journalist who wrote about the Burmese in Malaysia and especially about their trafficking.

'The Revolving Door': Plight of Burmese refugees in Malaysia highlights the precarious state that Burmese refugees are in, in Malaysia while seeking refuge from persecution in their home country.

Chin Refugees Living Above KL – Photo Essay. Today, there are more than 18,000 Chin living in Malaysia – the bulk of whom in Kuala Lumpur. In the bustling Malaysian capital, the Chin live above KL in government flats and low-cost apartments.

In a The Online Citizen International Special, guest author Rocky Lim shares the story of his refugee-friend Wan. Wan was borne in 1964 in Laos. He grew up in a small village near the Laos-Thailand border in the Northwestern part of the country. He became a refugee in Thailand and Australia, ironically after the Laotian Civil War (1953-1975).

Gimme Shelter is a short film for UNHCR’s new Gimme Shelter campaign to help raise funds and awareness about the crisis in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and the work of the UN refugee agency. The result is a short film entitled Gimme Shelter, set to the classic Rolling Stones song of the same name.

To Edit / Share

To edit, click on the button in the top right corner. To share, use the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license.