Tuesday, 12 April 2005

Praxis Signed MoU on Establishment of Balkan Asylum Network (BAN)

As a regional follow-up activity to the regional CARDS thematic seminar on the Role of Civil Society in November last year, UNHCR organized a workshop 11-12 April in Sarajevo to facilitate the establishment of a network of NGOs in the Western Balkans. The purpose of the network is to contribute to the capacity-building of civil society in the asylum field on a regional level and help NGOs presently providing legal assistance to displaced persons from the region to change focus to provide legal aid to asylum-seekers from third countries.

The NGOs who were present adopted a memorandum of understanding they drafted during the workshop outlining the goals, guiding principles and main activities of the network.

The Network will create a common regional database on case-law on asylum and country of origin information, advocate for the harmonization of national legislation with international and regional standards, raise awareness and initiate campaigns on the prevention of xenophobia, contribute to the capacity-building of legal aid providers in the region and support the establishment and development of refugee law clinics. The Secretariat of the Network will provisionally be hosted by the BiH legal aid NGO, Vasa Prava ("Your Rights").

The following NGOs are part of the Network: Center of Integrated Legal Services and Practices (Albania), Vasa Prava (BiH), Civil Society Resource Centre Legal Network (fYROM), and Praxis (Serbia), Croatian Legal Centre, SDF (Croatia) and Network of Humanitarian and Legal Aid Centres (SCG).

The name which was adopted for the network is Balkan Asylum Network (BAN).


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