RSN protects refugee rights worldwide by building capacity of local partners in key host countries, advocating for innovative rights-based refugee assistance policies and programs, and raising awareness of the refugee experience.
We believe that refugees have rights under international law, and those rights need to be respected and actualized in all circumstances.
To accomplish our goals, we break down our approach into three tools: capacity building, advocacy, and awareness raising.
In a new country, refugees often face difficulty in navigating bureaucratic procedures or the legal system when something goes wrong.
RSN works with local partner organizations to support the provision of free legal services for refugees. In Turkey, since 2015, RSN and Refugee Rights Turkey operate a Center that:
- Offers free-of-charge legal assistance to refugees
- Trains lawyers from across Turkey on refugee law
- Coordinates with NGOs offering a range of services in the country
RSN has an institutional history and close working relationship with RRT, and will be working to further strengthen RRT’s presence as Turkey’s leading legal NGO.
In 2016, RSN began to support Sofia-based NGO Center for Legal Aid-Voice in Bulgaria (CLA) in their provision of legal assistance to refugees and migrants.
RSN promotes pro bono initiatives to the legal communities of these host settings, based on the extensive pro bono models of the US legal field. RSN also supports a legal fellowship program to identify, select, and train US law students and lawyers to serve 6 month placements with local partners. By preparing and selecting fellows with relevant skill sets and knowledge, the program allows our partners to boost their own organizational capacity and in-turn help our fellows gain critical first-hand experience.
As a US-based human rights organization, RSN engages relevant stakeholders on a variety of issues relating to refugee rights in Turkey, the broader region, and across the world. Drawing from the experience of our partners in the field, RSN channels critical observations into key forums. In 2016, RSN played a role as a civil society actor in the lead up to the first-ever UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants and the drafting of the New York Declaration. RSN is a member of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) and the International Detention Coalition (IDC).
One of the primary goals of RSN is to raise awareness about the experience of individuals who are forced to flee their homes and the obligations governments have in managing that migration from a human rights perspective. In order to garner support and develop programs that provide meaningful opportunities to refugees, it is important for the general public to understand the challenges they face and ultimately overcome. This is particularly important given the rise in anti-refugee sentiment in many countries around the world.
RSN aims to use various methods to share refugee stories both in host countries, and in countries further afield. This work humanizes the refugee experience and counters negative perception of refugees among various communities. Our community events and fundraisers also serve as moments to educate supporters about the issues refugees face.