Last week, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and Saint Andrew’s Refugee Services (StARS) signed a Letter of Understanding to facilitate legal representation at UNHCR's Refugee Status Determination (RSD) procedures in Cairo, Egypt.
This agreement will allow asylum-seekers to have access to free legal representation from StARS to assist them during their RSD interviews and help them put forward all the information relevant to their refugee claims.
“UNHCR is pleased to partner with StARS on providing access to legal representation in RSD procedures.” The agency has long regarded legal representation as an important factor in establishing fair and transparent procedures under UNHCR’s mandate,” said Ms. Aseer Al-Madaien, UNHCR Deputy Representative for Protection.
StARS has been operating in Egypt since 1979 and was one of the first organisations dedicated to improving the quality of life of refugees and vulnerable migrants. In addition, the NGO has developed a robust legal aid programme to ensure the provision of responsible and high quality legal representation that meet the non-adversarial nature of UNHCR RSD procedures.
Egypt is currently host to 249,709 refugees and asylum-seekers. In the absence of a national asylum system, UNHCR Egypt registers and conducts RSD procedures for asylum-seekers on behalf of the Egyptian government.
RSD is the legal or administrative process by which governments or UNHCR determine whether a person seeking international protection is considered a refugee under international, regional or national law. It is often a vital process in helping refugees realize their rights under international law.