The first webinar of the new webinar series explored the global refugee protection needs in 2022, including a deep dive on mass displacement in Africa (including Ethiopia, DRC, and Sudan), Afghanistan, and Myanmar. Experts with lived experience explore the situation for people on the ground, share expert analysis of the international diplomacy underway, the connections to Australia and what Australia can do in relation to these conflicts and the mass displacement.
Jasmina Bajraktarevic-Hayward, Refugee Council of Australia
Jasmina came to Australia in 1993 as a refugee from Bosnia-Herzegovina. She is a Social Worker (Hon 1, University Medal) and the Community Services Coordinator at STARTTS. Jasmina’s involvement in the refugee field dates back to 1991, when she became involved in work with Bosnian refugees in Croatia through “Suncokret-Centre for Grassroots Relief Work”, an implementing partner of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Jasmina commenced her work at STARTTS in the position of Counsellor/Project Officer (communities of former Yugoslavia) in 1994 and remained in the position until 1999 when she took on the role of a Team Leader at Singleton Safe Haven. She has been in the position of Community Services Coordinator since 2000. Her knowledge and expertise range from individual trauma counselling, through groupwork and community development to management and staff supervision.
Jasmina is the current president of the Refugee Council of Australia.
Adama Kamara, Refugee Council of Australia
Adama Kamara is the Deputy CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA). She has 15 years’ experience in refugee services, health and local government, as well as personal and family experience of seeking asylum and supporting newly arrived refugees from her home country of Sierra Leone.
She has a passion for community led initiatives and an advocate for meaningful participation. Adama has led co-design projects with young people, people seeking asylum, refugees, culturally and linguistically diverse communities and service providers.
Ahmad Shuja Jamal, Refugee Council of Australia
Ahmad Shuja Jamal is a researcher and former Afghan civil servant now in exile. Most recently, Shuja served as the director-general for international relations and regional cooperation at the Afghan
National Security Council, where he helped manage Afghanistan’s security partnerships. He also served as director for peace and civilian protection and handled Afghanistan’s policy portfolio on international sanctions, including those of the UN Security Council and the US against Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS.
Prior to his civil service work, Shuja was a researcher for Human Rights Watch and served as director for development at the American University of Afghanistan, helping to reopen the university after the devastating terrorist attack on campus in August 2016. Jamal has authored several publications, including for the US Institute of Peace and Human Rights Watch. He is also the co-author of a forthcoming book, the Decline and Fall of Republican Afghanistan (Hurst). He is a Fulbright recipient and has a master’s in public policy from Georgetown University.
Shuja joined the Refugee Council of Australia team in December 2021 as Special Advisor.
Chris Sidoti, Special Advisory Council for Myanmar
Chris Sidoti is a human rights lawyer, advocate and teacher. He is a member of the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar. He has been a commissioner on UN human rights investigations, including on Myanmar and currently on Palestine and Israel. He has been Australian Human Rights Commissioner (1995-2000) and Australian Law Reform Commissioner (1992-1995). He has also worked in non-government organisations, including the International Service for Human Rights, in Geneva, the Human Rights Council of Australia and the Australian Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace. He is a member of the board of St Francis Social Service.
Hafsar Tameseuddin, Chair of Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network
Hafsar is a former Rohingya Refugee from Myanmar based in New Zealand. She has been an advocate for the rights of refugees, stateless people and gender equality for more than a decade. While she was in Malaysia as a refugee, she worked with Rohingya and other refugee communities from Myanmar in responding and prevention of SGBV including child marriages. She is a steering committee member of APNOR and New Zealand country coordinator of Free Rohingya Coalition [FRC] and acting Chair of APRRN. She also consults and works with the grassroot Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh, Malaysia and Myanmar.