Apart from a few countries, legal aid for refugees is sparse and difficult to access, but is crucial to the realisation of refugees’ rights. Especially the critical first step: recognition of refugee status. Few law schools offer courses in refugee law. Lawyers representing refugees tend to work in isolation. As a consequence, access to information and resources – for both legal service providers and refugees – is limited, particularly in the Global South. It is vital that legal service providers share their experience and assist in the better development of refugee legal protection everywhere.
Rights in Exile Programme: our aim
The Rights in Exile Programme promotes and strengthens the legal protection of refugees worldwide. We do this by centralizing resources for legal assistance providers and refugees themselves. Our aim is to strengthen and expand rights-based advocacy as well as to promote skilled legal aid for refugees through increasing efficiency, effectiveness, and raising standards of professionalism in the specialty of legal aid for refugees. We promote information exchange between refugee legal aid advisors, through facilitation connections and providing avenues for contact.
What do we offer
The Rights in Exile Programme offers quality support to both legal aid providers and refugees. Some resources are specifically targeted to one group, while others can be useful for both.
The Rights in Exile Programme works to achieve better protection of refugee rights by networking legal assistance providers with resources and training, and facilitating access to free legal assistance and information for refugees around the world.
The Legal Resources page provides a centralised Pro Bono Directory of free legal assistance providers in over 230 countries, a database of Country of Origin experts, a collection of national and international case law by country or region, and information on legal processes relating to refugees.
The Rights in Exile Refugee Legal Aid listserv is a Google group which enables lawyers/paralegals and individuals working with refugees to discuss issues relevant to refugee legal aid. Currently the group includes more than 700 professionals with an interest in refugee legal aid. In order to join the group, please visit this page.
The Rights in Exile Programme is dedicated to strengthening universal legal protection for refugees by connecting them with with legal assistance and empowering them in the exercise of their rights.
The Refugee Resources page gathers essential guidance and tools for refugees in the process of applying for asylum and status determination based on their country. If you need legal assistance, you can visit our Pro Bono Directory of free legal assistance providers working in over 230 countries.
If you are a refugee who is applying for asylum through the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), you can access our Self Help Kits to support you in the process of writing your statement for the Refugee Status Determination Interview.
If you need assistance for being reunited with your family, our Family Reunification page gathers resources and a list of organisations that offer support internationally, and in specific regions and countries (the EU, UK and USA).
For cases related to sexual orientation and gender identity, our SOGI Country List collects legal information and contacts of organisations that provide support in your country.
The Special Issues page offers helpful resources and contacts on special issues in refugee status determination, including LGBTI, witchcraft accusations, the exclusion clause, gender-based persecution, and other emerging or under-resourced areas.
The Training page gathers general and specific knowledge and education in refugee law, human rights frameworks and legal aid.
How you can contribute
We strive to maintain the Rights in Exile Platform updated, accessible and relevant, and to meet the needs of its users. Please contact us with your suggestions, to get involved, or to help us grow our network. If you provide legal aid somewhere in the world and would like to be listed on our directory, please send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.