On World Refugee Day, June 20, Pro
Bono Connect, New Dutch Connections, the NJCM, the Leiden Law Clinic,
and DLA Piper launched the Know Your Rights project, aimed at
empowering young asylum seekers by introducing them to various legal
Adriana van Dooijweert, president of the Human Rights Institute (College voor de Rechten van de Mens), opened the event, which was moderated by Lara Talsma (Project Coordinator Pro Bono Connect). Bright Richards (New Dutch Connections), accompanied by musician Oleg Fateev, brightened up the Zuidas with a performance.
And (ex-)asylum seekers underlined the importance of this project by sharing their personal experiences as a refugee coming to the Netherlands; as a newcomer, how would you even know if you have the right to medical care in a hospital or to a job?
Know Your Rights
Know Your Rights is a 12-week project, starting in September, during which some 20 young asylum seekers (up to the age of 30) attend weekly 2-hour sessions on various human rights issues. The goal is to empower the young asylum seekers by increasing knowledge of legal systems, whether it be Dutch, European or International, the rights of asylum seekers, and how to stand up for their rights.
The underlying aim is to give them the feeling that they have autonomy over who they are in this world, which is often lost while they stay in asylum seekers centers.
During the project, every asylum student will be assigned a mentor (a legal professional) and a buddy (law students) for the course of the project. The idea is that the refugee students will also build a (professional) network throughout the project.
content of the program was developed by the Leiden Law
Clinic, under the supervision of Prof. mr. A.G. Castermans, in collaboration
experts in the various fields. New Dutch Connection selects the asylum
seekers (mainly based on motivation and language skills, proficient
Dutch or English), and Pro Bono Connect and the NJCM make the connections
between all parties, i.e. finding the legal experts,
teachers, mentors, locations etc. Since the beginning of this project,
DLA Piper has been a strong supporter of this project in various ways
Pro Bono Connect
Pro Bono Connect is the first public interest clearinghouse in the
Netherlands and acts as an intermediary between non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) and law firms.
Pro Bono Connect was established in November 2015 by the Dutch section of the International Commission of Jurists (NJCM).
For more information about the Know Your Rights project, please contact Lara Talsma at