Research and policy analysis
RCOA’s core purpose is to promote the development of humane, lawful and constructive policies towards refugees and asylum seekers. To inform our positions on policy matters, we undertake research into a wide variety of issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers.
RCOA consults with people from refugee backgrounds and agencies which provide support to refugees and asylum seekers, both in Australia and overseas, to gather information and ideas and identify gaps and challenges. We convene national teleconferences, attend interagency gatherings, organise formal consultations and arrange meetings with individuals and organisations. We examine national and international research, statistics and models of best practice to determine the most constructive policy approaches on various issues. We also monitor information on refugee and asylum issues to identify emerging concerns, trends and areas of need.
Using this information, we analyse and evaluate policies in Australia and overseas to highlight gaps and deficiencies; identify policies which are working well and develop alternatives for those which aren’t; and put forward recommendations to the Australian Government and international organisations to assist them in formulating policy and improving support and services for refugees and asylum seekers.
Advocacy and representation
One of RCOA’s key roles as a peak body is to represent its members and advocate on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers. We engage with advocacy with the Australian Government and international bodies such as UNHCR through government dialogues on migration and human rights issues; regular correspondence with Government and UNHCR officials; national and state advisory committees; presenting evidence to parliamentary and international inquiries; regular meetings with politicians, government officials and representatives of UN and international agencies; and taking part in conferences and key international meetings on refugee and asylum issues.
RCOA also seeks to empower refugee communities and individuals by providing them with opportunities to advocate on their own behalf. We raise funds to support the participation of people from refugee backgrounds to attend key international meetings on refugee issues, such as UNHCR’s annual consultations with NGOs.
Community education and awareness-raising
Misinformation and lack of awareness about the issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers are key factors leading to negative opinions of these groups. Community education and awareness-raising are therefore key aspects of RCOA’s work.
RCOA develops resources and maintain an extensive website to provide access to up-to-date factual information on refugee and asylum issues, and assist members of the public in responding to myths and misinformation. We endeavour to increase media sensitivity towards refugees and asylum seekers by issuing media releases, liaising with media personnel and monitoring media coverage on refugee and asylum issues.
We gather personal stories from people who have arrived in Australia as refugees, to provide an insight into the refugee journey and highlight their achievements in Australia. We are the national coordinator of Refugee Week, an annual event which promotes positive images of refuges and celebrates the contributions of refugees to Australian society.
Through our campaigns, we provide opportunities for individuals to support RCOA positions on critical issues.
Last updated December 2014