The Resettlement Legal Aid Project (RLAP) helps qualified refugees present themselves to the UNHCR, IOM, and national immigration agencies for permanent relocation outside of Egypt. RLAP assists all refugees without regard to religion, race, nationality, or gender. We are a completely independent organization from the UNHCR, IOM, and national immigration agencies. We do not make immigration or resettlement decisions; we help refugees understand their options and navigate the procedures.
Since 2008, RLAP has advised over 1,100 clients on a variety of legal matters related to life as a refugee in Egypt.
Our staff and volunteers conduct interviews and evaluate whether a client satisfies the legal criteria for resettlement. If so, we prepare a testimony for submission to the UNHCR, IOM, or national immigration agency as appropriate. If a refugee’s claim for resettlement is rejected, we assist him or her in appealing the decision.
Sometimes, clients have urgent needs but do not qualify for resettlement. RLAP’s attorneys work to understand the entirety of a client’s situation, and to provide all possible assistance. In some cases, we refer clients to our own psycho-social caseworkers or other service providers in Cairo.
RLAP began in April 2008 as the Iraqi Information Office, in response to the massive influx of Iraqi refugees and their need for information and advocacy. RLAP was founded by refugee rights advocate Dr. Barbara Harrell-Bond, volunteer law students, graduate students, and refugees seeking assistance. We now advise and represent clients from all refugee communities in Egypt.
RLAP remains the only legal aid organization in Cairo focusing on resettlement. As a refugee service organization, we do not participate in or comment on Egyptian domestic affairs.