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The Journey
Life in a foreign land
The way ahead:
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Waiting to return
- Analysis by UN High
- Who's there to help?
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World Service radio series
The way ahead: Who's there to help?
Dozens of international organisations exist to help refugees and asylum-seekers in different stages of their journey. There are hundreds more organisations working at local or national levels. Below is a quick guide to some of the main ones.


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has a mandate to lead and co-ordinate international action for the worldwide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It also has a gallery of prominent refugees. >>

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) provides education, health, and relief and social services to 3.8 million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

International Organisation of Migration >>
Works with the international community to assist humane and orderly migration.

Amnesty International >>
The world's largest human rights organisation, it seeks the release of prisoners of conscience, works for the fair and prompt trials for all political prisoners and opposes the death penalty. Also has a dedicated refugee website. >>

International Committee for the Red Cross >>
Directs and co-ordinates international relief activities and works to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance.

Human Rights Watch >>
Investigates and exposes human rights violations and holds abusers accountable. It challenges governments to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law.

Relief Web >>
Part of the United Nations, it provides information on humanitarian disasters.

International Rescue Committee >>
Provides relief, protection and resettlement services for refugees and victims of oppression or violent conflict.

Asylum Law >>
Provides information to lawyers worldwide to help them prepare asylum cases.


The Refugee Council >>
The largest organisation in the UK working with asylum seekers and refugees. It offers advice, training courses and support to help refugees and asylum seekers.

Scottish Refugee Council >>
Gives advice about education, housing, health and employment, as well as how to make a claim for asylum or make an appeal.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate (UK) >>
Part of the Home Office, this site gives information on how to apply to stay in the UK.

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (UK) >>
An independent, national voluntary organisation that specialises in immigration, nationality, asylum law and policy. It provides free advice, casework and training courses.

Electronic Immigration Network >>
Provides information on immigration, refugee and nationality law in the UK.

Danish Refugee Council >>
Works for refugee protection and runs two language schools in Denmark to help refugees integrate into society. Has a lot of international aid projects too.

Norwegian Refugee Council >>
A voluntary organisation which lobbies for refugees' rights and provides international humanitarian aid.

European Council on Refugees and Exiles >>
An umbrella organisation that campaigns for fair and humane policies for the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.

Canadian Council for Refugees >>
A non-profit organisation that works for the protection of refugees in Canada and abroad and for the settlement of refugees and immigrants in Canada.

Refugee Council of Australia >>
Provides information, support and legal advice to refugees and asylum seekers in Australia.

Lawyers Committee for Human Rights >>
Lobbies the US Government to provide better protection for refugees and asylum seekers

US Immigration and Naturalization Service >>
Official website of the US agency which handles immigration and asylum applications.

US Committee for Refugees >>
A private, non-profit, humanitarian organisation that works for the protection and assistance of uprooted people around the world.

American Immigration Lawyers Association >>
The national bar association of more than 7,200 lawyers and law professors who practice and teach immigration law. The member lawyers represent US families who have applied for permanent residence for their families.

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