International Refugee Assistance Project | 2021

International Refugee Assistance Project

Unlocking legal rights so that refugees can resettle safely

IRAP will close the gap in legal aid for refugees to empower 2.5 million displaced people

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Girls holding up signs at anti immigration bans protest. Photo Credit Fibonacci Blue



More than 84 million people globally have been forced to leave their homes, fleeing war, conflict and persecution. The problem is growing, with historic migration events happening one after another and climate change compounding factors on an unprecedented scale. For displaced people seeking lasting refuge, legal representation dramatically increases the chances of safe resettlement, yet the legal resources available to refugees are often fragmented, outdated and, in many locations, nonexistent. Without an expansion of legal aid globally and large-scale reforms to the way refugee and immigration systems work, millions of forced migrants will continue to be trapped in unstable situations — like refugee camps or living undocumented — subject to inhumane conditions, ongoing security threats and separation from their families, as well as the inability to work and the lack of legal resources necessary to pursue stable, permanent residency.

Big Idea

The responsibility to improve access to cross-border refugee rights sits outside the scope of any one government. This is the void that IRAP is purpose-built to fill. Over the next five years, IRAP will scale its legal assistance to help 2.5 million displaced people worldwide access pathways to safe resettlement. At the core of IRAP's approach is empowering migrants with the legal tools to activate their legal rights and pursue pathways to safety, with dignity and agency. IRAP offers multilingual, culturally-relevant, virtual legal resources to connect displaced people and their advocates with clear, trustworthy information to help them identify and access available resettlement pathways. Through its regional hubs and global network of partners, IRAP also provides direct legal aid to displaced people wherever they are, and addresses systemic problems identified in its casework to benefit migrant populations at scale.


IRAP will expand its programming to new populations, languages and regions, helping more displaced people understand their rights, legal options and the pathways to safety available to them. IRAP will employ three interrelated strategies: (1) Expand its global presence and partnerships to regions hosting 75% of the world’s refugees; (2) Build out the world's most robust and accessible virtual legal information platform for refugees, so displaced people can activate their legal rights no matter where they are located; (3) Leverage the power of systemic advocacy and impact litigation to remove existing barriers and create more pathways to safety.           

Why will this succeed?

Since 2008, IRAP has provided direct legal aid to more than 36,000 individuals from nearly 100 countries — and helped half a million people through litigation and policy advocacy. In this work, IRAP has developed partnerships with over 250 legal and humanitarian organizations, worldwide. These trusted, long-term relationships enable hundreds of mutual referrals and unlock more than $10 million in pro bono legal aid each year.

Project Impact

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