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Justice for Refugees

The Pathfinders for Justice program builds on the Justice for All report and works to promote people-centered justice in countries and contexts around the world and contribute to the achievement of SDG16+. The NYU Center on International Cooperation’s program on Humanitarian Crises, among other things, facilitates progressive refugee policy reforms at global and country levels. 


Jointly, we are undertaking a series of activities to explore the most common justice problems faced by refugees. Refugees face discriminatory laws and often have little meaningful access to justice services, despite having urgent and complex justice needs. Many refugees are denied fair treatment with regard to housing and employment. Obtaining legal documentation is often a major challenge.


We will focus on the justice problems of refugees and work with partners to develop ambitious, but feasible, strategies and approaches to resolve and prevent them. Our work aims to strengthen the humanitarian-development nexus and provide an agenda for action on justice for refugees. 


We are currently working on:


  • The paper Legal Empowerment: From Accompaniment to Justice, by Emily E. Arnold-Fernández, discusses the importance of ensuring that refugees know their rights, are empowered to stand up for them and can access people-centered justice services. Legal empowerment is critical to their ability to solve their everyday justice problems and address injustices they face.


  • A strategy meeting on justice for refugees, convening leaders of the justice sector, and those at the forefront of global refugee policy making, was held on 25 May 2022 in in The Hague. Read more in a recent blog post.

  • An event convening leaders and policy-makers from the justice and humanitarian sectors was held on 1 February 2023, exploring the issue of data and evidence gathering on access to justice in situations of forced displacement. The event aimed to shed light on the importance of collecting data on the justice needs of displaced populations, explore gaps and challenges in knowledge and practice, and identify ways to translate evidence into action. Read more in a recent blog post.

  • A forthcoming paper on refugee’s right to work and access to labor markets.

  • A 17 May 2023 discussion entitled Committed in the Face of Crisis: Lessons from Colombia’s People-Centered Migration and Protection Policy that aims to bring together UN-member states, UN agencies, funders, and non-government migration, protection, and justice experts to discuss Colombia’s migration and protection policy. Learn more here.

Infographic [ES]

Coming Soon


Colombia Migrants.png

[PDF] Colombia’s Support for Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees
[English] [Spanish]

Header image: (UN Photo / Amanda Voisard)

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