Self-Assessment

The following worksheet will help you decide if your organization can and should expand your services to other rights, please complete the following worksheet and review your answers on the following page. Note that this worksheet requires international and domestic legal knowledge, and may take some time to complete.

Once you have completed the Non-RSD Worksheet, you should evaluate if and how your organization should engage in advocacy regarding refugee legal assistance beyond obtaining legal status.

Firstly, you should have already identified which rights are legally recognized in your jurisdiction, under national and international law (see Question 1). Additionally, you may review the Incorporation of Domestic Law section for further information on the importance of a deep understanding of local legislation and forums in non-RSD services.

Secondly, you should have an idea of the forums in which these rights can be demanded.

Lastly, you should have identified where your clients’ priorities lie, which organizations are working on these issues, and which rights can be demanded without the assistance of a licensed lawyer. For further guidance on identifying clients’ priorities, see the Needs Assessment section below.

We hope that this worksheet has helped you identify one or more areas where your organization could potentially help clients demand non-RSD rights. Before deciding whether your organization should move forward offering expanded services, consider some of the pros and cons of moving into non-RSD rights work:

  •  Expanding your services can help your organization gain greater national exposure.
  •  Expanding your services will almost certainly involve working with a broader range of actors, thus promoting institutional networking and allowing for larger referral networks.
  •  Your organization can build greater trust within the refugee community, by addressing more of your clients’ urgent needs.
  •  Non-RSD rights work may allow your organization to apply more confrontational strategies, without damaging relationships you may have with government officials who work on RSD issues.
  •  As you expand your services, you will undoubtedly enter areas where your organization has less expertise.
  •  You will need to be cautious about stepping on other organizations’ toes as you enter new territory.
  •  The expansion of services may overstretch your institutional mission.
  •  You should be careful not to overwork your legal team. If RSD legal assistance already fills most of your legal advocates’ time, you may not have the resources to expand.

Whether your organization decides to enter into non-RSD rights work and how you provide new services is highly dependent on the local context. The following is an example of the types of successes non-RSD rights work can accomplish. We hope that this section provides some rough ideas on how to move forward, should you decide to enter into non-RSD rights work.