Our projects outside the Netherlands


Read this article in Dutch

Read in Dutch

The Dutch Council for Refugees is one of the largest refugee assisting organisations in Europe. International solidarity and responsibility drives us to share our knowledge and broad experience with other NGOs abroad. This is called 'NGO-twinning'. By doing so, we aim to further strengthen NGOs so they can offer asylum seekers and refugees the best possible help and support.

 refugees in tentsThe external EU-borders

The Dutch Council for Refugees focuses primarily on countries at the external borders of the European Union. Many asylum seekers and refugees travel through these countries on their often hazardous journey to an EU country. At the outside borders of the EU humane reception conditions for asylum seekers are often lacking. Asylum seekers are sometimes held in detention centres for months on end or they end up sleeping in the street. Because of malfunctioning asylum systems they often do not have access to a fair asylum procedure.

Empowering local organisations

We support a number of local refugee assisting organisations in improving the situation of asylum seekers at the borders of Europe. This support is based on the existing needs of our sister organisation. We are currently running an NGO-twinning project in the Western Balkans. The projects focus on strengthening of these organisations through training and exchange of knowledge and know-how. Our projects are funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the EU, NUFFIC and other funds.

  • Hotspots Greece and Italy

    A short video about our lobby

    VluchtelingenWerk Internationaal: Zorgen over de hotspots (lange versie)

    A video about our work in Greece

    VluchtelingenWerk Internationaal: Greek Council for Refugees

    A video about our work in Italy

    VluchtelingenWerk Internationaal: Italian Council for Refugees

  • Serbia

    The situation in Serbia

    After a number of wars, many refugees and displaced people – people who have become refugees within their own country – live in Serbia. Many refugees from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia choose a route through South-eastern Europe or the Balkans. A growing number of Syrian refugees crosses the borders of Serbia. However, instead of travelling onwards, an increasing number of people now apply for asylum in Balkan countries. Because Serbia is a candidate member state of the EU, its asylum system will increasingly be aligned with the EU asylum system.

    What does the Dutch Council for Refugees do?

    We cooperate with our Serbian partner NGO, the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, in order to strengthen the Serbian asylum system. The Dutch Council for Refugees provides trainings in the field of legal aid for refugees and integration. A study visit to the Netherlands will also be part of the project.

    The project is financed by the Matra fund of the Dutch Embassy in Serbia and has a duration of one year.

  • Completed projects


    Our sister organisation MYLA (Macedonian Young Lawyers Association) is working hard to develop and strengthen their organization in order to better defend the rights and interests of refugees in Macedonia. At the request of MYLA The Dutch Council for Refugees has developed a tailor made training programme for MYLA. The intensive training modules focus  on topics such as communication, lobbying and collaboration between civil society and academics. We hope that MYLA will soon be able to even better influence and monitor protection of refugees and a fair and humane asylum policy in Macedonia. This project is funded by the 'Tailor Made Training Programme' of EP-Nuffic: Center for internationalisation and international cooperation in education


    Important steps have been taken to achieve a fair asylum policy, but there is still much work to be done. For instance, a system for free legal aid needs to be developed. In order to contribute to this goal, we support the independent NGO Refugee Rights Turkey (formerly known as Helsinki Citizens Assembly). Currently we are closely cooperating with Refugee Rights Turkey in two projects. The first project is financed by the EU. In this project the Dutch Council for Refugees facilitates three workshops in association with ECRE. These workshops focus on Dutch and European Asylum Procedures, Reception and Integration. In our second project we support Turkish BAR organisations for migration lawyers and NGOs by sharing knowledge and experience with them on asylum law and by providing advice about mutual coordination. The American US Department of State largely finances this project.


    We cooperate with the Montenegrin NGO 'Centre for Democracy and Human Rights' (CEDEM), in a project to enhance the protection of refugees in Montenegro. The project aims to strengthen the Montenegrin asylum system and to align it with international and EU standards. In this project the Dutch Council for Refugees provides trainings for the partner organisation and for other Montenegrin refugee organisations and the Montenegrin government. These trainings focus on providing legal aid for refugees. In addition, a Montenegrin delegation visited the Netherlands to see how the Dutch asylum systems works in practice. The project with CEDEM is financed by the Matra fund of the Dutch Embassy in Serbia, its duration is one year.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    We cooperate with the Centre for International Legal Cooperation (CILC) and two Dutch governmental institutions: the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA). Moreover, we work with local Bosnian NGOs, like Vasa Prava. We aim to increase the capacity of both governmental and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). In addition, in this project we aim to strengthen mutual cooperation. The IND and the COA train the Bosnian government, while the Dutch Council for Refugees trains NGOs to prepare and coach asylum seekers for their asylum and integration procedures. Together we aim to strengthen the entire Bosnian immigration process. The project is financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its duration is two years.


    In Kenya many refugees live in huge refugee camps. These camps are located in remote and poor areas and the refugees depend largely on the assistance of international aid organisations. The Dutch Council for Refugees cooperates with two Kenyan NGOs in the refugee camp of Kakuma, near the Sudanese border. These organisations offer refugees legal, social and material aid.
    Many refugees in Kenya also live illegally in Nairobi as 'urban refugees'. Together with local refugee organisations, we aim to protect them against all negative consequences of illegality.