The Rights in Exile Programme promotes the legal protection of refugees, globally, and is run by AMERA International. We do this by centralizing resources for legal assistance providers and refugees themselves.

The core issue

Apart from a few countries, legal aid for refugees is sparse, 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. This limits access to information and resources- for both legal service providers and refugees. Many refugees, particularly in the Global South, have no access to legal aid. It is vital that legal service providers share their experiences and assist in the better development of refugee legal protection everywhere.

How the Rights in Exile Programme combats this issue

For Legal Service Providers: 

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 tab establishes a centralised database of contact details of free legal assistance providers in over 230 countries, a database of country of origin experts, our post-deportation monitoring project, and information on legal processes relating to refugees.

The website also provides platforms for training in refugee law, such as self-study courses.

For Refugees: 

The Rights in Exile Programme is dedicated to strengthening universal legal protection for refugees .

This programme provides information as well as access to resource persons who will help you with special issues. The Refugee Resources tab above is formed to provide the guidance and tools essential for a refugee in their process of applying for asylum and status determination based on their country. There is also assistance for Family Reunification available, which you can access here. Click here to see the Self Help kit if you are applying for asylum through the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

Further, the Special Issues tab 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.

OUR AIMS

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.

The Rights in Exile Programme

We promote information exchange between refugee legal aid advisors, through facilitation connections and providing avenues for contact. We hope our resources, particularly those outside of our organisation, are helpful. It is important that you check it meets your needs. Please contact us if you find problems. Check here for your organisation. If you are not listed, but you provide legal aid somewhere in the world, please contact editor@amerainternational.org immediately so we can discuss with you your work and list you.

Moderated Listserv: Rights in Exile Refugee Legal Aid Group

In order to join Rights in Exile Refugee Legal Aid email group click here . This google group enables lawyers/paralegals and those 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.

The aim of this group is to get people talking to each other around the globe about refugee legal aid, case-related issues of relevance (seeking expertise or insight from legal professionals globally), policy and advocacy issues, and for information about relevant conferences, vacancies, and the like. If you are asking a question regarding a case, remember not to reveal a name, although it is likely that nationality and the particularities of the law in the State you are dealing with the case will be relevant to any help or suggestions another lawyer may try to give you. You can always ask for help directly to your email.

This is a list primarily for lawyers, paralegals, researchers and those for whom refugee legal aid is relevant to their work. It is not for government officials or UNHCR staff.

Please encourage lawyers/paralegals in your country who represent refugees to post to this group and become members.

WHAT’S NEW ON OUR PROGRAMME:

    • Our page on Why Legal Aid has been updated as we reiterate the need and importance of provision of legal aid to forcibly displaced people.
    • The Self Help Kits are now available in English, Arabic and French.
    • In light of the recent current situations in  Ukraine and Afghanistan, we have updated our Ukraine pages (here and here) and Afghanistan pro bono page and shared UNHCR’s updated information on help for Afghans inside and outside Afghanistan.
    • Our resource persons have updated content on Refugee Protection in the Asia Pacific Region and the African Union Refugee Definition, sections.
    • We have included new sections on the Family Reunification page, on which we have country specific family reunification information.
    • We are constantly updating this website. Recent changes took place on the Refugee Resources page, on which we now have a clearer framework of Refugee and Asylum Seeker definitions.
    • We have a new link to an asylum guide of The Law Society available for those applying for asylum specifically in the United Kingdom – under the section titled ‘Providing Protection: Access to high quality early legal advice for asylum seekers – especially for those applying for asylum in Europe.’

This website has been designed to accommodate those who only have low-bandwidth internet access; hence no pictures or logos. The exception is our films .

Please contact us with your suggestions, to get involved, or to help us grow our network.