HelsinkiCitizens' Assembly (hCa) is a non-governmental organization based in Istanbul, Turkey, promoting fundamental rights and liberties, democracy and pluralism. For more information on hCa and its work on a diversity of issues, see: www.hyd.org.tr
hCa's Refugee Advocacy and Support Program (RASP) 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.
hCa – RASP provides extensive free legal assistance and representation to individuals who wish to apply for asylum protection in Turkey and/or are in need of legal interventions to prevent being unlawfully deported or detained arbitrarily. RASP's legal assistance caseload is largely comprised of asylum seekers from Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia, among others. RASP legal assistance services mainly engage UNHCR Turkey's "refugee status determination" procedure, but also the parallel "temporary asylum" procedure administered by the Government of Turkey. Services range from basic information and counseling to drafting of legal submissions, legal representation at UNHCR and litigation interventions at relevant domestic courts and ECtHR.
hCa – RASP is a leading civil society stakeholder in the policy debate on refugees and migrants in Turkey. The Program publishes reports about protection gaps, engages the government and other stakeholders, and conducts training events and media work. In 2006, hCa was among the founders of Southern Refugee Legal Aid Network (SRLAN), an initiative of legal assistance providers serving refugees in the global south. In 2008, hCa became the first NGO from Turkey to join the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), an umbrella organization of over 60 refugee-advocacy NGOs from across Europe.