Asylum Access, founded in 2005, engages in global advocacy to transform the human rights landscape for refugees in first countries of refuge. Their aim is to help refugees receive legal information, advice, and/or representation.
The 1951 Refugee Convention, and its 1967 Protocol, is the only global legal instrument dealing with the status and rights of refugees, while regional agreements include the 1984 Cartagena Declaration and the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention in Africa. But these agreements still do not ensure full legal rights nationally in many countries.
Aslym Access’ initial advocacy targeted problems in UN-run refugee status determination proceedings that decide the fate of nearly 100,000 refugees in more than 50 countries worldwide, drawing on the direct, on-the-ground experience of our founding staff and board members who had provided legal assistance to refugees navigating these proceedings in Egypt, Uganda, Turkey, Ecuador and elsewhere.
They launched their first overseas pilot project – a Community Legal Empowerment initiative that trained refugees to provide basic legal advice and advocacy within their own communities – in January 2007 in partnership with the University of Capetown’s refugee legal aid clinic in Capetown, South Africa. Since then they have expanded their offices and outreach to Ecuador, Thailand, Tanzania, Mexico, Malaysia, and Panama.