After convening four times virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was wonderful to be back together in person on 1-2 November 2022 in Malaysia, almost exactly three years after our first meeting in Thailand.
The ADFM Secretariat and IDC (International Detention Coalition) were delighted to hold this in-person Roundtable meeting in Putrajaya, attended by around 35 people from operational and policy agencies in governments in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Thailand, as well as national and international civil society groups.
The Roundtable discussed latest developments and positive practice relating to migration policies and alternatives to detention (ATD) for children in the context of international migration and respond to challenges states are facing. It was remarkable to note the improvements in the region since we last met in 2019, and the continued enthusiasm for ongoing peer-learning and mutual support.
Over the course of two days, participants discussed concrete policy issues such as monitoring and evaluation, and meaningful engagement of refugee and lived experience voices in policy and programming. There was also plenty of time in small groups to discuss national level priorities and how the Platform can continue to support progress on alternatives to child detention and related issues.
During plenary and group discussion, organisers welcomed participants’ strong desire to develop policies and activities in the best interests of the child in their countries. One government participant described the Platform meeting as the right kind of “spark” that was needed to catalyse change on these issues.
Participants identified a number of areas for concrete future cooperation and are also interested to meet annually in person, with virtual sessions in the interim. The ADFM Secretariat and IDC are pleased with their ongoing collaboration on this Platform and are looking ahead to its sustainability.