More than 100 signatories joined PILnet’s Legal Community Pledge presented at the Global Refugee Forum December 14.

Over 100 refugee-led organizations, NGOs, law firms, academic institutions and others combined forces with PILnet and our Pledge Core Group to volunteer their time and expertise to work with refugees and other displaced people as part of the Legal Community Pledge in the run up to the 2023 Global Refugee Forum (GRF) held in Geneva December 13-15.

Collectively, they have pledged to provide legal assistance to over 1 million forcibly displaced people and deliver nearly 1 million hours of legal assistance to those individuals and organizations that are led by refugees or work directly with them.

In addition to legal assistance to displaced people and refugee-led organizations, some members of the legal community committed to increase refugee inclusion in hiring practices in order to meaningfully engage professionals with lived experience of displacement at all levels of refugee legal assistance work, while others pledged to undertake direct advocacy in order to develop refugee protection laws and systems, and to mobilize resources on behalf of refugees and the organizations that support them.

PILnet Board Member Awmaima Amrayaf presented the Legal Community Pledge at the 2023 GRF.

“The legal community has come together to commit to work with refugees, stateless, internally displaced and other displaced people to advance their access to rights, justice and lasting solutions to their displacement,” said PILnet board member Dr. Awmaima Amrayaf announcing the pledge during the GRF plenary session December 14.

With more people displaced from their homes than ever before due to persecution, conflict and climate change, there has never been a more critical moment for the legal community to join forces and work with refugees and other displaced people. The Global Refugee Forum Legal Community Pledge seeks to harness the expertise, passion, and influence of legal professionals worldwide to drive meaningful change for displaced people globally and to ensure that refugee rights are upheld and strengthened.

The United Nations Development Programme and the countries of Australia and Chile also joined this pledging initiative by committing to work with and fund legal actors to increase access to legal assistance for refugees and other displace people globally.

On the sidelines of the 2023 GRF, PILnet co-hosted a session on legal assistance to refugee-led organizations along with Refugee-Led Research Hub and Asia-Pacific Network of Refugees. PILnet’s Yusra Herzi presented PILnet’s Refugee-Led Clearinghouse, a legal matching process through which refugee-led organizations can access free legal help. In addition, Lidya Tewlede, a PILnet- Refugee-Led Research Hub Fellow, presented her research findings on the legal needs of RLOs.

The Legal Community Pledge remains open for signature. If you are interested in learning how you can join this growing community of legal actors, reach out to us at [email protected] or learn more here.