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Global Refugee Forum: DRC is thrilled to announce our participation in the 2023 GRF Legal Community Pledge.

Read DRC’s Commitments under the GRF Legal Community Pledge.

Posted on 06 Dec 2023

Ahead of the second Global Refugee Forum (GRF) taking place in Geneva in December, DRC is thrilled to announce our participation in the 2023 GRF Legal Community Pledge .

Together, pledge signatories aim to put the power of the law to work to advance access to rights, justice and lasting solutions for displaced people globally.

We join a network of legal professionals, refugee-led organizations, advocates and other allies to contribute our expertise, resources, and policy insights to increase legal assistance and create systemic change for and with refugees and other displaced people.

To find out more about this transformative initiative and how you can become a part of a growing community of legal experts working with and advocating for displaced people everywhere go to PILnet.org

GRF Legal Community Pledge

Commitments to increase reach of legal aid services for and together with displacement affected people, strengthen legal environment building and partnerships, networks, and coordination with legal actors, including in humanitarian crisis situations:

  • DRC and partners will continue to increase the reach of conflict- and displacement affected people with high-quality legal aid services based on locally identified legal needs. DRC further commits to reaching more affected people through new approaches to legal aid in humanitarian crisis situations, including hard to reach populations.
  • DRC will strengthen its legal environment building activities in the countries where we work. Concretely, 30 country operations aim to have a plan for delivery of legal environment strengthening activities by 2025. Further, DRC commits to advocate for the recognition of Legal Aid as an integral and important part of humanitarian crisis response, with the required resources and capacity.
  • DRC commits to strengthen its partnerships and networks with legal actors.

Concretely, DRC will, a) Join the Strategic Litigation Council, b) Increase its cooperation, including funding and capacity exchange with local actors, and c) Assess and further leverage pro bono in its legal aid programmes, including with existing partner Herbert Smith Freehills. DRC further commits to share any learnings arising from this cooperations with other organisations. Finally, DRC commits to, d) Support collaboration and coordination of legal aid in humanitarian crisis settings, e.g. by including local and national legal actors in humanitarian response planning and coordination structures.

Commitments related to Asylum Capacity Development through engagement with the Asylum Capacity Support Group (ACSG), strong advocacy to protect the rights of asylum seekers and the asylum space and strengthen legal aid in and around asylum procedures:

  • DRC commits to engage with the Asylum Capacity Support Group (ASCG) and the new dialogue platform as well as with the development and implementation of UNHCRs 5-year strategy on Asylum Capacity Development.
  • DRC commits to continue engaging in strong advocacy work to protect the rights of asylum seekers, including the right to seek asylum and to counter efforts to externalize refugee protection.
  • DRC commits to further develop its core competency area on asylum and refugee law, including by developing a DRC “menu of services” on legal activities in and around asylum procedures, with the purpose of strengthening and expanding its legal aid activities.

Commitments to improve and expand the scope of legal aid services on Housing, Land and Property (HLP) provided to forcibly displaced persons. This will be done through reinforcing DRC’s internal capacity on HLP rights, increased legal environment-building activities on HLP and development of guidance on engagement with customary or community-led justice actors and statutory justice:

  • DRC commits to increase its capacity and expertise on HLP to strengthen and expand the scope and quality of its legal aid programming and improve access to justice on HLP issues. Concretely, DRC commits to, a) Develop a chapter on HLP in DRC’s legal aid resource pack, b) Develop a set of training modules on HLP issues in forced displacement settings in 2024 and, c) Roll out in DRC’s various regions of operations, d) Increase the number of operations providing legal aid services on HLP (as compared to 2023).
  • DRC commits to use its increased HLP capacity to step up legal environment-building initiatives on HLP rights, concretely, to develop advocacy initiatives on HLP and capacity development with and for civil society organisations and authorities.
  • DRC commits to develop guidance at country and global level on how, when and under which conditions legal actors should support access to justice on HLP through collaborative dispute resolution mechanisms and community-based solutions, including customary institutions.

Number of people reached in 2022: 159,169, ambition 2023 164,492, ambition 2025: 351,990.

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