“We can be part of the international dialogue”

The Swiss NGO AsyLex was involved at the first Global Refugee Forum in 2019. At the next Forum, scheduled for December 2023, AsyLex will continue its engagement.
Multi-stakeholder & partnership approaches

“We can be part of the international dialogue”

The Swiss NGO AsyLex was involved at the first Global Refugee Forum in 2019. At the next Forum, scheduled for December 2023, AsyLex will continue its engagement.
26 January 2023
Participants at the first GRF in 2019

This interview was originally conducted in French by UNHCR in Switzerland and Lichtenstein, and has been translated for reproduction on this Platform. You can read the original interview in French and also a German translation.

The Global Refugee Forum 2023 will be an opportunity to build on the progress made by governments and other stakeholders in implementing the commitments and initiatives from the first Forum. Guided by the goals of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), participants worked in 2019 to achieve a fairer and more sustainable distribution of responsibilities for the more than 100 million people around the world forced to flee.

Carina Waser, co-leader of AsyLex's International Cooperation team, explains in this interview the association's motivation for engaging in the 2019 Forum, the lessons they have learned since then, and AsyLex's expectations for the next Forum.

Ms. Waser, why did AsyLex decide to develop a Pledge for the Global Refugee Forum in 2019?

AsyLex presented its own pledge in 2019 and joined the Legal Community Pledge in 2021. On the one hand, we saw this as an opportunity to exchange best practices with other legal representation organizations, to inform each other and to identify contact points. On the other hand, it was important for us to support the first participation of NGOs and other non-governmental stakeholders in a high-level global conference on refugees with our own pledge.

What was your goal?
One of our big goals is to develop international cooperation. We want to be able to connect people who are being sent back to their home countries with like-minded organizations in those same countries. We felt that pledging at the Forum was a good way to make contacts in this sense. We assumed that other organizations were facing the same challenges as us. The platform offered by the Forum helped us find new solutions by exchanging with them. We also wanted to make our online legal advice service, which is an innovative approach, known internationally.

What did you gain from this?
In particular, our activities in the Legal Community Pledge have given us the opportunity to connect with other organizations that advocate for the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees. Since June 2022, we have been part of the Legal Community Pledge Core Group and can actively participate in the work on projects. Finally, reporting for both pledges helps us document our own progress and identify potential opportunities.

Why is this commitment important to you?
This commitment is important to us because it allows us to be part of the international dialogue. By definition, migration does not stop at national borders. A global approach is essential. Thanks to the Legal Community Pledge, we have active exchanges with other NGOs. At the national level, thanks to the pledges, we also have the possibility to exchange with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

What are your plans for the second Global Refugee Forum in December 2023?
As we continue to provide legal advice/representation, we are still committed to implementing our 2019 pledges. We would like to present developments from our two current pledges as part of the 2023 Forum.
In addition, we are working with the Legal Community Pledge Core Group on a new structure for the Legal Community Pledge. It is still too early to say what exactly will come out of this. But the upcoming Forum is an important platform to bring together legal experts in the field of refugees.
Finally, we want to expand our activities to a new country. This includes access to international redress mechanisms. Therefore, it is possible that we will table a new Pledge at the 2023 Forum.

What are your expectations? Do you have a particular wish?

We would like to see like-minded organizations working even more closely together towards a common goal. And we need to exchange even more information and possible solutions to the challenges we face to better support people on the run.

If you wanted to convince another organization to get involved as well, what would you say to its leaders?
Such engagement allows for a global exchange and supports collaboration between NGOs and other organizations and companies around the world. It is very motivating to see many organizations, law firms and other actors committed to a common goal. It gives access to a large network and makes us realize that we are not alone.