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About Us


The Refugee Rights Unit was founded in 1998 as a Project within the UCT Law Clinic, aimed at providing legal support services to the growing number of refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa. It has since evolved into a fully independent Unit, with four main components: the Unit's Refugee Law Clinic provides direct legal services to thousands of refugees and asylum seekers in the Western Cape each year; the Unit conducts applied research in refugee law and related topics; it teaches refugee law to undergraduate law and masters' students within the Department of Public Law; and, it undertakes a significant amount of targeted advocacy and training of government officials, the judiciary, civil society partners and refugee communities.

The Refugee Rights Unit remains not only committed to directly assisting refugees and asylum seekers but also in engaging in research which can be used to promote and further the law in this area and as an advocacy tool in the future.

The Refugee Rights Unit is currently funded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Sigrid Rausing Trust.