Ratu Ayu Asih Kusuma Putri

PhD Candidate

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Ratu Ayu Asih Kusuma Putri is a PhD Candidate at Melbourne Law School researching the intersections between refugee mobilisation, law, and development. Her research is focused on the role of refugee communities in providing protection, and her doctoral thesis particularly looks at Rohingya refugee community organisations in Malaysia. She is supervised by Professor Susan Kneebone (Melbourne Law School) and Professor Andrew Rosser (Asia Institute). Prior to joining Melbourne Law School, Ayu worked as a lecturer and junior researcher at a private university in Jakarta from 2015 – 2022. She has conducted research on urban refugee policy and refugee livelihood strategies in Indonesia. Ayu also has been working as a volunteer and advisor for some refugee-led organisations and projects in Indonesia.

Thesis Title

Localising refugee protection: the case of refugee community organisations in Malaysia.

Thesis Summary

Despite the rhetoric of ‘localisation’ – that is, greater inclusion of those immediately affected by crises or policy choices – within refugee protection governance, in practice, meaningful participation of refugees in decision-making processes concerning them is strictly limited. This thesis examines how localisation unfolds in practice by focusing on the role of refugee community organisations (RCOs), using the context of Malaysia as a transit country. It investigates the conditions under which meaningful participation is achieved and how power is exercised through emerging localisation practices. This thesis argues that the existing power inequalities between the formal refugee agencies and RCOs have hindered the transformative process of localisation.


  • Refugee law
  • International refugee protection governance
  • Refugee-led organisations
  • Forced displacement in Southeast Asia