We are proud to be the legal profession’s leader in pro bono work for refugees. For these efforts we received The American Lawyer’s Grand Prize for Global Citizenship 2016.
Recognizing the effectiveness of our work relocating refugees to safety in other countries, the Canadian government in 2019 approved two new programs to accept our cases from Jordan and Greece. These special projects allow referral to Canada of 90 cases (approximately 500 refugees who must be women at risk or victims of torture). Despite the pandemic, the first two of these referred families (11 individuals who fled Syria) arrived safely in Canada in March 2021.
The programs follow a decade of our success relocating refugees and displaced persons to permanent safety. Our track record began with our lawyers relocating to the United States and Canada more than 60 Haitian women and children who were left homeless and vulnerable by the 2010 earthquake. In 2015 we began fieldwork in Amman, Jordon and partnered there with doctors, psychologists, NGOs, and the UN High Commission for Refugees. We identified refugees with credible histories of kidnapping, sexual torture, rape, and forced marriage. To date we have relocated dozens of these Syrian, Iraqi, Kurdish, and Sudanese refugees from Jordon to the United States, Australia, the UK, France, and Canada. In 2016 we expanded this pro bono work by developing an ongoing torture rehabilitation program in Athens, Greece, where our firm has an office. There we supported refugees we had taken on as clients on the Greek islands. Some of these clients had been tortured in Syria by ISIS. To date we have relocated to safety 60 refugee clients from the Middle East.
We also work in Europe with not-for-profit Safe Passage, assisting unaccompanied child refugees and vulnerable adults in finding safe and legal routes to sanctuary. Our head of pro bono for EMEA went on a part-time secondment in 2018 to Safe Passage as joint head of casework and programs.