Rights in Exile Programme

Refugee Legal Aid Information for Lawyers Representing Refugees Globally

Training

This page provides information on: 

  • General Training - General awareness and knowledge of legal aid, human rights frameworks and refugee law.
  • Specific Training - Expertise and knowledge in the fields of Country of Origin expert research and writing, the refugee status determination process, refugee protection and resettlement.

GENERAL TRAINING 

1 General Materials essential to International Refugee Law

General Refugee Law Principles 

Watch What is a Refugee? By William Maley, Professor of Diplomacy, Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy, Australian National University. You can watch this video here. (28 mins) 
It provides an introduction to the complex idea of 'the refugee'. The talk includes differentiating between migrants, asylum seekers, displaced persons and refugees, the post war origins of modern refugee protections, the legal definition of a refugee and the current European refugee crisis. 

Watch The Refugee Convention in 60 seconds by Free Movement. This gives a quick overview of who is classed as a refugee under the international legal instrument of the 1951 Refugee convention. You can watch this video here. (1 min) 

Watch James C. Hathaway on the 1951 Refugee Convention by The Ethics Centre for an in-depth analysis of the Refugee Convention which is very easy to understand. You can watch this video here. (20 mins). 

UNHCR has produced a series of self taught modules for those requiring a basis in refugee law and the work of UNHCR in particular. Here are two helpful introductory modules for a deeper insight into refugee law. 

Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status under the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees

Published by the UNHCR, this updated version of the handbook provides key information concerning accessions to the international refugee instruments including details of declarations on the geographical applicability and all provisions of the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol. It can be accessed here.

Researching Country of Origin Information 

A training manual on researching country of origin information. It is useful to those who have no experience in writing declarations on behalf of asylum seekers.

Confidentiality and Ethics - The Nairobi Code

All lawyers who have passed the Bar in their countries sign an ethical code. The reason that the Nairobi Code is recommended for all who practise refugee law is that particular issues arise when representing them and because many non-governmental organisations employ paralegals who have not signed an ethical code because they are not members of any Bar organisation. The Nairobi Code is available in English, French, Spanish, Croatian, Slovenien, Chinese and Russian. We recommend it for all who represent refugees, whether lawyers or not.

2 Long Term Courses  

General training on international refugee law, refugee status and human rights 

Note: all courses are FREE of charge. 

An Introduction to identifying human rights violations and to claim, defend and promote the human rights of refugees
3-5 hours per week. 3 weeks long. You can access this course here. 
Amnesty International introduces this course to enable you to find the answers and empower yourself to defend and promote the rights of refugees and discover how you can be part of the solution. The course explores: how to explain and defend the human rights of refugees, the role of governments in preventing human rights violations against refugees, how to challenge misconceptions, prejudices and discriminatory attitudes and behaviours towards refugees and asylum seekers and how to take action to protect the rights of people in need of international protection. 

Refugees in the 21st Century
4-6 hours per week. 6 weeks long. You can access this course here.
The University of London International Programmes introduces this course which provides insight into the refugee phenomenon as one of the most complex, compelling and (arguably) misunderstood features of the 21st century. Taking a global perspective, it will outline the fundamentals of who ‘refugees’ are, where they come from and where they go, as well as delving into the features of the global system for refugee protection and ‘solutions’ for those who have been forcibly displaced. 

General training on working with refugees

Working Supportively With Refugees: Principles, Skills and Perspectives
4 hours per week. 3 weeks long.
*free access to this course for 5 weeks. You can access this course here.
University of Glasgow delivers this course on conflict resolution and social inclusion of refugees through the practice of cultural mediation in the reality of refugees. It focuses on the principles of psychological well being and socio-emotional health in refugee cases. Further, this course teaches strategies for the mediator to support the refugee group and develop a culture of emotional wellbeing.  

UNHCR self study modules 
UNHCR has produced a series of self taught modules for those requiring a basis and a deeper understanding of refugee law, the relationship between refugee protection and human rights, and the work of UNHCR in particular. 

 

SPECIFIC TRAINING 

1 Specific Materials for selected Regions 

A selection of training manuals, glossaries and videos to help identify and protect refugees.

EUROPEAN 

Handbook on European Law Relating to Asylum, Borders and Immigration: European Court of Human Rights and European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights Handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration. 

Booklet on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU to asylum procedural law : This booklet, published by the ECRE and the Dutch Council for Refugees, is designed to assist legal practitioners supporting those who are in need of international protection. The booklet provides an overview of secondary legislation relevant in the context of the asylum procedure and explains how the Charter can be used to enhance protection. 

Réfugiés et Immigrants: un glossaire, Conseil Canadien pour les Réfugiés: Ce glossaire sur les réfugiés et immigrants est recommandé. De nombreux termes sont utilisés pour parler des réfugiés et des immigrants. Certains ont une signification juridique, d’autres ont une connotation péjorative. L’utilisation des termes appropriés est essentielle au respect des personnes et favorise la tenue d’un débat éclairé dans ce domaine, et cet glossaire est une bonne ressource pour la formation.

UNHCR Protection Training Manual for European Border and Entry Officials: UNHCR's Protection Training Manual for European Border and Entry Officials has been developed in connection with UNHCR's 10-Point Plan of Action, which was launched in 2006 to help governments identify and protect refugees within increasingly complex population flows. 

The Qualifications Directive: an overview and specific safeguards inserted by the European Parliament in the negotiations. Patricia van de Peer - a video made available by the European Law Observatory. You can watch this video here.

Syrian refugees seeking protection in the EU: putting the Common European Asylum System to the test? Madeline Garlick - a video made available by the European Law Observatory. You can watch this video here.

The EU's Common European Asylum System and the Crisis of Unsafe Arrival of Asylum Seekers. Professor Elspeth Guild - a video made available by the European Law Observatory.  You can watch this video here

Statelessness in Europe: This course on statelessness of the European Network on Statelessness is useful for lawyers, NGOs and others working with asylum, immigration or human rights, civil servants in central and local government, people working for the European Union institutions, academics and students, as well as journalists. It is advertised as taking no more than three hours to complete.

CANADIAN 

Talking About Refugees and Immigrants: A Glossary, Canadian Council for Refugees: This Refugees and Immigrants Glossary, a two-page document gives a clear rundown of the terms used in refugee / immigration discourse, and may be a useful starting point for training purposes, though some parts are specific to the Canadian system.

USA 

The National Immigrant Justice Center's Basic Procedural Manual for Asylum Representation: The National Immigrant Justice Center's Basic Procedural Manual for Asylum Representation is recommended. Although much of it deals with US law and procedure that may not be relevant in other jurisdictions, some sections, like "Preparing for the Hearing on the Merits" starting on p. 35, have lots of good general information on how to interview clients and prepare a case.

The Heartland Alliance's (previously Midwest Immigrant and Human Rights Center) Immigration Equality Asylum Manual: The Midwest Immigrant and Human Rights Center provides an online Immigration Equality Asylum Manual. The manual focuses mainly on LGBT claims, but it also provides general asylum practice advice.

The Advocates for Human Rights’ Pro Bono Asylum Representation Manual: An Overview of Asylum Law & Procedure: Advocates for Human Rights offer an online Pro Bono Asylum Representation Manual. Applicable practice information generally covers Preparing the Asylum Application, Interviewing the Client, Establishing Trust with Your Client, Overcoming Cultural Barriers, Dealing with Psychological Barriers, Interviewing through an Interpreter, various Practice Pointers, Affidavits, Corroborative Evidence, Personal Documentation, Material Witnesses, Country Conditions Documentation, Expert Witnesses, and more.

INTERNATIONAL 

UNHCR Protection Training Manual for European Border and Entry Officials: UNHCR's Protection Training Manual for European Border and Entry Officials has been developed in connection with UNHCR's 10-Point Plan of Action, which was launched in 2006 to help governments identify and protect refugees within increasingly complex population flows. 

2 A selection of particularities in refugee law 

The role of Country of Origin Information in refugee status determination
This is a 4-hour course with a follow-up test for Country of Origin Information (COI) experts. It focuses on the role of COI and the application of quality standards for COI in refugee status determination procedures. It can be accessed here. All materials of Disaster Ready are FREE to access, but you must register to access the materials provided. 

Detention and immigration 
This 3-hour course is for legal aid providers. You will learn why detention in the immigration context must only be used for exceptions and the importance of complying with safeguards provided in international law. This course explains the fundamental concepts and definitions of detention and practice skills related to the assessment of detention decisions. It provided by Disaster Ready can be accessed here. All materials are FREE, but you will need to register to access the materials. 

Judicial independence in refugee law adjudication  
Sir Stephen Sedley - a video made available by the European Law Observatory. You can watch this video here.

The expert in asylum and human rights cases: possibilities for use and abuse.
Justice Geoffrey Care - a video made available by the European Law Observatory. You can watch this video here.

Assessing the credibility of women's asylum claims
Debora Singer - a video made available by the European Law Observatory. You can watch this video here.

Membership of a particular social group
Professor Deborah Anker - a video made available by the European Law Observatory. You can watch this video here.

The particular challenges of national security cases
Hugh Southey - a video made available by the European Law Observatory. You can watch this video here.

The concept of persecution and its interpretation on the basis of human dignity
Professor Justice Paul Tiedemann - a video made available by the European Law Observatory. You can watch this video here.

Assessing Credibility and Refugee Status (UK)
These instructions are designed for UK officers but are useful guidance for interviewing refugees.

 

OTHER FILMS AND DOCUMENTARIES 

General Documentaries on the realities of refugee crises. 

Human Flow (2017)
2 hr 20 mins
A documentary which follows the migratory situation in different countries around the world. More than 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war, the greatest displacement since World War II. Filmmaker Ai Weiwei examines the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact. Over the course of one year in 23 countries, Weiwei follows a chain of urgent human stories that stretch across the globe, including Afghanistan, France, Greece, Germany and Iraq. This is available to BUY on Youtube and Google Play.

The Dublin Pitfall (2015)
30 minutes 
A documentary by Rime El Jadidi,  The Dublin Pitfall addresses the consequences of the Dublin Regulation on Syrian refugees in Europe. This is available to watch for FREE here.

The following documentaries are provided by the Legal Centre, a small group of legally trained international volunteers based in Lesvos. They provide legal information and assistance to asylum seekers and migrants, whilst supporting Greek lawyers in their provision of legal advice and representation. 

Moria 35 (2017) 
28 mins 
A documentary produced by Joinda Production in collaboration with the Legal Centre which chronicles the months of organized resistance by migrants in Moria Refugee Camp in 2017, prior to the 18 July 2017 violent police raid and arbitrary arrest of 35 men who face trumped up criminal charges. 

Inadmissible (2017)
36 mins 
A documentary produced by Thraedable in collaboration with the Legal Centre which highlights the various and severe breaches of human rights on the island of Lesvos.

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