Rights in Exile Programme

Refugee Legal Aid Information for Lawyers Representing Refugees Globally

Turkey Pro Bono Directory

 Click here to see the numbers and origins of refugees hosted by Turkey. 

Turkey maintains a geographical limitation to the 1951 Refugee Convention (It is not a party to the 1967 Protocol) and only applies it to refugees originating from European countries. In 2013, Turkey adopted a Law on Foreigners and International Protection (LFIP) which affirms Turkey’s obligations towards all persons in need of international protection, regardless of the country of origin. 

The law created the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM). The agency is responsible for migration and asylum and conducts the status determination procedure. As of 10 September 2018, UNHCR stopped carrying out mandate Refugee Status Determination procedures. According to the Law on Foreigners and International Protection, foreigners who would like to apply for international protection in Turkey shall approach the Provincial Directorates of Migration Management (PDMM) in the cities upon entry to the country. 

UNHCR will continue its protection activities, including delivery of counselling services, to refugees and asylum-seekers in Turkey. More information on the role of UNHCR in Turkey can be here and on the Welcome to the ‘Help’ website run by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Here, refugees and asylum-seekers can find information to help them know more about their rights, obligations and the services available to them. Take a look around and discover what you need to know about your stay in Turkey, including where you can go to seek further assistance. Other related issues are outlined below:

Turkey asylum system has a dual structure:

  • Temporary protection regime for refugees from Syria - more information here
  • Asylum procedure for international protection for non-Syrian refugees - more information here
Here is a Questions & Answers booklet made by Refugee Rights Turkey on International Protection Procedure in Turkey. 

Refugee Rights Turkey (Mülteci Hakları Merkezi) 

Tel: +90 212 292 48 30
Fax: +90 212 292 48 33
Email: infoatmhd [dot] org [dot] tr
Contact Person: Oktay Durukan, Director
 
Please see below detailed up to date contact instructions for different types of legal assistance requests and legal queries – in the context of Covid-19 mitigation measures. 

“Refugee Rights Turkey” (RRT) – “Mülteci Hakları Merkezi” in Turkish – is  an independent NGO based in Istanbul, which provides specialized legal information and assistance services to asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants in Turkey, including persons in immigration detention. RRT extends a range of legal counselling and assistance services and carries out litigation interventions representing asylum seekers and detained migrants in locations across Turkey. RRT is headquartered in Istanbul, and has field offices in Izmir and Edirne.

RRT offers legal information and assistance services in relation with :

- Government of Turkey asylum procedures for refugees from both Syria and other countries of origin ;
- deportation and immigration detention procedures ;
- general access to rights and services questions and problems.

RRT also closely works together with Turkey’s state-funded legal aid scheme administered by bar associations, makes referrals to the national legal aid system in cases that fall outside the scope of RRT service policy, and advises legal aid lawyers on refugee/migrant cases.

RRT’s legal aid work is :
 
- independent from Government of Turkey agencies as well as international organizations, including UNHCR;
- informed by legal rules and principles laid down by relevant domestic, European and international human rights and refugee protection standards;
- strictly committed to respecting and protecting the privacy and confidentiality of all information presented by beneficiaries.
 
RRT (previously known as HCA-RASP) was among the original signatories of the 2007 Nairobi Code of Ethics for Legal Advisors in Refugee Cases, and continues to uphold the Nairobi standards.

RRT’s comprehensive legal information materials and videos for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants available in multiple refugee/migrant languages can be reached online via the dedicated http://multecihaklari.info /  http://refugeerights.info website, which can currently be browsed in Arabic, Farsi, English and Turkish.  

Guidance on how to reach out for RRT legal services :

Asylum seekers and migrants interested to reach out to RRT legal assistance services can continue to contact RRT via phone, every day from Monday to Friday, from 10am to 5pm

RRT General Legal Assistance Helpdesk :
- For Arabic, English and French calls : 0549 510 52 02
- For Farsi and Turkish calls : 0549 510 52 03
- For legal questions and requests for assistance via email : infoatmhd [dot] org [dot] tr
 
RRT Detention Helpdesk :
- For requests and referrals regarding detention cases only : 0507 218 62 85
- For detention-related referrals and requests via email : infoatmhd [dot] org [dot] tr

NGOs, lawyers and other referral actors who wish to relay requests for advice or assistance on cases-> are kindly asked to contact RRT by email at : infoatmhd [dot] org [dot] tr

Advocates Abroad

Email: casesatadvocatesabroad [dot] org
 
Advocates Abroad is a non-profit organization of field and remote based volunteer attorneys, interpreters, asylum experts, and medical professionals providing essential free aid to refugees and asylum seekers. All services are provided without discrimination or compensation. Advocates field teams operate throughout Greece, Turkey, Switzerland, and Italy. Advocate field and remote teams are diverse in background and expertise on asylum and asylum related matters. In 2020, Advocates Abroad succeeded in its two year long complaint before the European Ombudsman on systemic abuse in asylum interviews by EASO officers in Greek island hotspots. This complaint resulted in an unprecedented decision by the European Ombudsman on behalf of asylum applicant human rights and dignity. Advocates Abroad was ranked #404 out of the top 500 NGOs in the world in 2019 by NGO Advisor, due to the quality of legal aid and expertise of volunteer teams. 
 

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) 

Address: 1 Battery Park Plaza, 4th Floor, New York, NY 1004
Information for refugees and asylum-seekers: iraplegalinfo.org
General information about IRAP: refugeerights.org

In limited situations, IRAP can provide information, advice, or legal representation to people in the following situations:

  1. Refugees who are in the United States resettlement process
  2. Refugees seeking family reunification with qualifying family members in the U.S., France, Germany, or Sweden.
  3. Individuals with severe humanitarian or protection needs for whom resettlement or relocation to a safe country may be the best solution. IRAP assists some individuals in UNHCR resettlement and complementary pathway processes. These could include individuals who have recently faced direct threats and individuals with medical conditions that are life-threatening or could cause permanent disability.
  4. Iraqis and Afghan SIV applicants. 

About IRAP’s Services:

  • All information that potential clients share with IRAP is considered confidential and held in accordance with applicable rules of legal ethics.
  • IRAP is not affiliated with the United Nations or any government.
  • IRAP cannot decide to grant or deny refugee resettlement, a visa, or any other legal pathway. IRAP cannot guarantee that any visa application will be successful.
  • Applications for resettlement, visas, or other pathways can be extremely lengthy. In many cases, applicants should expect to wait several years before receiving a final decision.
  • IRAP does not provide financial assistance.
  • All IRAP services are free of charge. 

Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants

Address: Aşağı Dikmen Mah. Galip Erdem Cad. No:42 Çankaya ANKARA
Contact Person: Lawyer Sinan Yolalan
                          Lawyer Reyyan Kavaklıoğlu 
Tel: +09 312 427 55 83, +09 312 212 60 12 or +09 312 212 60 13 
Fax: +09 312 212 60 14
Email: infoatsgdd-asam [dot] org
 
The Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM) was established in Ankara on December 22, 1995 as a non-governmental and non-profit organization. The main objective of ASAM is to develop solutions to the challenges that refugees and asylum seekers encounter in Turkey. Since its establishment, ASAM has been providing psycho-social support for asylum seekers and refugees coming from neighbouring countries or conflict zones and advocates to improve their access to rights in Turkey. ASAM performs awareness raising activities and work towards directing the attention of the relevant authorities to the problems of refugees and asylum seekers. In 2013, as the implementing partner of UNHCR Turkey Office, ASAM began to conduct pre-registration of the new comers (non-Syrians) and took over the main registration in May 2015. In Turkish asylum system, protection begins with UNHCR registration which provides a referral letter for the asylum seekers to be registered to the Turkish authorities. 
Our aims are:
  • Developing solutions to the challenges that refugees and asylum seekers encounter in Turkey and supporting them in meeting their basic and social needs and accessing rights through advocacy and mobilising local and national resources
  • Raising public awareness on the issue by disseminating accurate information through conferences, meetings and panels,
  • Building peace between host community and refugees by organising cultural and social activities,
  • Interpreting relevant statistics and providing guidance to public authorities and NGOs on the latest migration trends to/in Turkey,
  • Contributing to academic research on the issue. 

What we do?

  • Registrating asylum seekers (non-Syrians) on behalf of the UNHCR Turkey Office,
  • Informing new arrivals about their rights and obligations in Turkey,
  • Protecting asylum seekers and refugees in over 40 provinces through field offices,
  • Provision of psycho-social and legal counselling for refugees and asylum seekers,
  • Assisting asylum seekers and refugees with accessing their rights (health, education, etc.),
  • Preparing booklets for different satellite cities to help refugees integrate to the socio-economic life,
  • Providing assistance (shelter, financial resources, etc.) for the most vulnerable cases by mobilising various resources,
  • Organising social and peace-building activities,
  • Contribution to the law-making procedures.

Mülteci-Der / Mültecilerle Dayanışma Derneği (Association for Solidarity with Refugees) 

Address: Anafartalar Caddesi, Salepcioglu Ishani, No.96/511, Konak-Izmir, Turkey
Tel: +90 232 483 54 21
Mobile: +90 549 483 54 21 or +90 549 483 54 22
Email: bilgiatmulteci [dot] org [dot] tr
 
In order to protect and defend the rights of the asylum seekers, immigrants and refugees, who have taken shelter in Turkey, Association for Solidarity with Refugees (MülteciDer) was founded in 31 January 2008 in İzmir. In August 2012, Mülteci-Der opened its branch in Edirne which is located at the border between Turkey and Greece. As an organisation working in the area of human rights, humanitarian solidarity and humanitarian aid, the main aim of the organisation is to protect and promote human rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants and other target groups. Mülteci Der conducts its work independent of any political party, governments or intergovernmental organisations. Without making any discrimination regarding language, religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, political or ideological beliefs, ethnic origin or on any other bases, it addresses the human rights and humanitarian needs of the target population. Mülteci-Der gives direct legal counselling to people in the target group, in particular to those in need of international protection, and engages in advocacy, lobbying and raising awareness activities to empower their basic rights.For this purpose Mülteci-Der:
  • Provides legal counselling and assistance to those in need of international protection in detention or in risk of deportation regarding access to asylum, access to basic rights, cases of non-refoulement, cases of readmission, migration related child detention and detention of vulnerable groups;
  • Provides legal counselling and assistance for problems faced during the asylum procedures before the UNHCR and the Turkish authorities;
  • Provides psychosocial counselling and assistance for basic needs when possible and directs those who need basic or specialised support to the related organisations and specialists.
  • Carries out monitoring, research and reporting activities on access to rights and conditions in detention places; on access to the services for basic needs such as health, education, shelter, food and clothing in satellite cities where refugees and asylum seekers are requested to reside.
  • Advocates and lobbies activities directed to national, local as well as international bodies to improve the legal framework, policies and practices of refugee and migrant rights;
  • Tries to mobilise the attention of all related authorities to intervene about inhuman, degrading behaviours and conditions and abuses.
  • Conducts raising awareness activities, trainings, production of written and visual materials for refugee and migrants rights addressing to NGOs, lawyers, activists, universities, media, local and national authorities and the general public.
  • Encourages and participates in networks and platforms to promote refugee/migrant rights.

SOHRAM - CASA

Rehabilitation and Adaptation Center for Victims of Violence and Migration

www.sohram.com (in Turkish)
Address: Tavsanli Apt. Kat 4 No 11 / Diyarbakir / Turkey
Tel: +90 41 22 24 44 77
Fax: +90 41 22 28 88 80
Email: sohramathotmail [dot] com

SOHRAM-CASA, in Diyarbakir, works with victims of violence and torture. They offer therapy and medical help to those who have been affected by violence and torture. They are also able to help in the preperation of legal reports and consultations for torture victims. SOHRAM-CASA also carry out research and educative programmes.

Human Rights Agenda Association 

Address: Güniz Sokak 38/8 06700 Kavaklıdere/Ankara -TURKEY
Phone: 0090 312 428 06 10-11 
Fax: 0090 312 428 06 13
E-mail: refugeepostaatrightsagenda [dot] org (@rightsagenda.org)
Contact: Roberto Frifrini
 
The Human Rights Agenda Association, an independent national NGO, has been founded in 2002 in Izmir. At the moment, the HRAA has three offices: Ankara (main office), Izmir and Diyarbakir. Alongside working on monitoring activities on the status of human rights in Turkey and neighbouring countries (from minority rights to women rights to constitutional rights), the HRAA works to promote awareness of International and European law rights, carrying out studies and professional workshops. 
 
Specifically, in promoting migrants' rights, the HRAA utilizises an holistic approach, grounding all of its studies on the provisions of International Human Rights and Humanitarian laws. Accepting that human values are above domestic context and legislation, the HRAA aims to underline the diversity within the different aspects of migration related issues: every migrant, as a human being, owns his/her specifity given by religion, sexuality, political opinions and ethnicity. Through a particularistic approach, the HRAA's members denounce any possible violation of basic human rights perpetrated by relevant actors.
 
Main areas are:   
 
  • Promoting the analysis and development of a common and complete understanding of European asylum law
  • Promoting the cooperation among NGOs, both domestic and International ones, with a focus on South-Eastern Mediterranean area.
  • To improve migrants' conditions and to create a better comprehension on the subject, the HRAA promotes technical and informative workshops, providing data and legal opinions on the latest legal developments.  
As a pool of lawyers, the HRAA's expertise investigates various areas of immigration and migrants' rights, denouncing all form of violence and creating awareness on any violation of basic human rights.
 

Citizens' Assembly - Turkey

Address: Gumussuyu Mah. A Ciragi Sk. N7 Daire 3, Beyoğlu - İstanbul
Tel: +90 212 292 68 42 - 43 
Fax: +90 0 212 292 68 44 
Email: iletisimathyd [dot] org [dot] tr
Twitter: @hydturkiye

The Citizens’ Assembly  is a non-governmental organization based in Istanbul, Turkey, promoting fundamental rights and liberties, democracy and pluralism.

hCa is devoted to: 
  • ensuring the legal protection of refugees and vulnerable migrants in Turkey; 
  • monitoring state policies and practice in the area of asylum and irregular migration control; 
  • advocating for legislation and policies in line with international standards; and 
  • encouraging public awareness and local ownership. 
Citizens Assembly does not directly provide legal assistance to refugees, but is collaborating with Bar Associations and lawyers throughout Turkey. They are a member of the advisory committee of the SILA project (conducted by the UNDP and the Turkish Bar Association Union) and partner of the refugee commission established by the Urfa Bar Association. Currently, They are working on a number of issues such as human security, societal peace, refugee policies, and collaborates with NGOs working with refugees. 
Citizens Assembly is also providing psychological support and primary health care for Syrian refugees living in Kilis, Turkey. This project is technically and financially supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)-Spain.
 

LGBTI ORGANISATIONS IN TURKEY

Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity (Kaos GL) Association

Website: www.kaosgl.org
Fax: +90 312 230 6277
Email: refugeeatkaosgl [dot] org
Contact persons: Hayriye Kara and Koray Arkadas

Kaos GL is providing legal and social assistance to LGBT refugees since 2007. Kaos GL conducts refugee activities in the context of human rights monitoring, reporting and legal support. This support is given as social and legal activities to LGBT individuals who are coming to Turkey as a transit country. Within the scope of this program, Kaos GL provides legal assistance in cooperation with UNHCR and DGMM (General Directorate of Migration Management), within the advocacy work Kaos GL communicates and cooperates with NGOs, national and international institutions which are working in the field of immigration and human rights.

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