Global Systems Change

Transforming the system so it works for everyone.

Image shows a side shot of of a Somali woman with a head covering


Asylum Access works to transform the global system of displacement response so it prioritizes the human rights of forcibly displaced people and recognizes their power.

Refugees have already been forcibly displaced from their homelands against their will. Wherever they seek refuge, they should be allowed and supported to rebuild their lives in ways they choose.

But the global response to refugees continues to prioritize stopgap measures designed by outsiders — instead of dismantling the barriers that keep refugees from designing and achieving their own solutions.

Refugees must enjoy foundational human rights. When national laws and state practices keep refugees from living safely, working under fair conditions, attending school and accessing healthcare, aid-based approaches are insufficient.

Instead the following changes are needed:

1. Institutions of power must prioritize improvements in the laws and practices of all nations that are home to refugees. This means leveraging their own power to promote and encourage such improvements from the outside, and supporting those best equipped to advocate on the inside: Local civil society actors, including both host community- and refugee-led organizations.

2. Local CSO actors must be positioned to drive progress at a national level, in particular in key refugee hosting countries that have regional or global strategic influence.

3. Refugees must design and lead solutions. Refugee communities know what they need to thrive — but refugee-led organizations are routinely denied resources and access to decision-making spaces. Instead, refugees should be at the center of displacement response, as decisionmakers and designers. When refugees have a leadership role in displacement response, it is more likely to be legitimate, accountable, transparent and impactful.

We advocate for these changes by building and supporting partnerships that help transform the refugee response sector into one that is transparent, accountable, equitable and that ultimately leads to greater respect, protection, and promotion of refugees’ human rights.

We work together to explore opportunities to partner with local civil society actors, including refugee-led organizations around the world as we:

  • Engage with powerful processes and institutions such as UNHCR, World Bank and governments with global influence to make them more inclusive and prioritize improvements in the laws and practices in refugee hosting countries. Read our advocacy publications.
  • Catalyze campaigns towards greater equity and accountability in the refugee response sector. See our position paper on Building Equitable Partnerships here, and our launch event here.
  • Partner with local CSOs and RLOs in strategic countries for capacity bridging initiatives that strengthen our collective pursuit of refugee human rights on the ground.
  • Demand and support the inclusion of refugee-led organizations in displacement response decision-making and resource allocation. Learn more about our commitment to refugee leadership.

Let’s change the system together

If you or your organization would like to join the movement to push for transformational change in forced displacement response, check out our Partner With Us page or Contact Us.