Today’s global displacement crisis presents an enormous global challenge. A reported 25.9 million people worldwide are refugees, protracted stays in host countries average 26 years, and 86% of refugees reside in the global south, in host countries within Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Beyond traditional modes of relief and development, refugees need the ability to safely enter states, obtain legal status, move freely and gain employment on an equitable basis with others. These abilities allow refugees the opportunity support themselves and the freedom to rebuild their lives. They are also refugee rights, written in international law.
In order to help refugees access their human rights, Asylum Access utilizes a two-pronged strategy:
- We fight for laws and policies in host countries that respect refugee rights; and
- We provide legal empowerment programs to help refugees protect themselves and access their rights under the law.
Why and How our Global Advocacy Works
With startling frequency, laws in host countries actively prevent refugees from rebuilding their lives. Through policy advocacy, Asylum Access transforms discriminatory laws and policies into frameworks that enable refugees to live safely, move freely and work legally – the building blocks to a meaningful life. We help host countries implement legal frameworks that encourage the full social and economic participation of refugees.
Supporting Host Countries
Asylum Access, through our family of national NGOs in host countries, is one of the few organizations working to engage host governments to address this challenge on the national level.
At the national level, we improve and refine our model for change by directly implementing programs that engage host governments and the private sector to create enabling environments for refugee livelihoods, which gives refugees the tools to access jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities and address livelihoods-related violations.
Our Global Advocacy Milestones
Here are a few examples of what we have been able achieve through our Global Advocacy work:
- In 2014, Asylum Access brought a constitutional challenge in Ecuador that led the court to review and strike down Decree 1182. This restored fairness and access to legal status processes by eliminating a requirement to present refugee claims for legal status within 15 days of arrival and restored Ecuador’s recognition of refugees fleeing generalized violence. This development has benefited over 11,831 refugees who have applied for asylum since 2014.
- The Thai government has committed to releasing refugee children and mothers from detention. Through strategic litigation, the Universal Periodic Review process, and work with the government to develop an Memorandum of Understanding, Asylum Access and other civil society actors were able to advocate for alternatives to detention, secure the release of individual refugee children through court cases, and establish procedures that will help mothers and their children will be released in the future.
- Asylum Access Mexico has represented many detained Central American refugees in court, resulting in the immediate release of families from detention. These decisions contribute to a growing body of jurisprudence protecting refugee access to asylum in Mexico.