Danish Refugee Council

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) was funded in 1956 and is an international humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO) whose mandate is the protection and promotion of durable solutions to refugee and displacement problems, on the basis of humanitarian principles and human rights, including providing refugees, internally displaced persons and other affected groups in situations of war and conflict with assistance according to their rights. DRC has more than 8,500 staff in 40 countries and 8,000 volunteers and works in conflict-affected areas, along the migration routes, and in the countries where refugees settle. In cooperation with local communities, DRC strives for responsible and sustainable solutions, and works toward successful integration and – whenever possible – for the fulfilment of the wish to return home. DRC has a strong protection component in its programmes targeting individuals, groups and communities most at risk and with specific vulnerabilities with protection programming interventions, including legal aid, child protection, gender-based violence and protection information management and advocacy for the rights of refugees and displaced persons. Within the EU, DRC works in Denmark and Greece to support asylum seekers and refugees with legal counselling and assistance in the asylum procedures and in supporting their integration process. DRC has a strong expertise in International Refugee Law and the European asylum system. DRC has been comprehensively engaged in the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) both at global level with a view to influence the final text, and with the role out of the CRRF, where DRC has a leading role among INGOs in the CRRF steering structures in many countries.

Partnerships: DRC has an extensive outreach to local authorities, partners and civil society groups / organizations in areas of operation, as well as with Diaspora (see below). At the European level DRC actively engages in platforms and networks including Elena ECRE, ERSO, EPAM, VOICE, ICVA and Concord Europe. DRC Diaspora programme: The work of the Diaspora Programme supports Danish Refugee Council’s conviction that displaced people are a resource for both countries of origin and destination and responds to a growing body of evidence calling for a more inclusive humanitarian system that integrates ‘non-traditional actors’ to enhance the effectiveness of the humanitarian response. See more: https://drc.ngo/relief-work/diaspora-programme

DRC also brings in the ASILE Project, the Mixed Migration Centre’s Middle East Regional Hub. The Mixed Migration Centre Middle East (MMC) will be a third party to DRC. DRC coordinates, aggregates and disseminates analysis on mixed movements through its global structure on Mixed Migration – the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) – with a global presence in Geneva and regional entities in East Africa, West Africa, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. See e.g. annual MMC publication: Mixed Migration Review 2018.

The Mixed Migration Centre’s Middle East Regional Hub has a objective to provide quality information and analysis to improve decision-making for people on the move through the Middle East and along the Eastern Mediterranean route into Europe, as well as for host governments and humanitarian organisations who are involved in the response.


Role in ASILE

DRC has a rights-based approach to its work and protection of refugees’ and displaced persons’ rights is at the core of DRC’s work. DRC works in many countries around EU’s external borders both in the Western Balkans and North Africa. DRC will have an active role in WP5, concretely benefiting with the regional DRC offices to conduct interviews in three countries (Serbia, Turkey and possibly Tunisia) and it will jointly work with MMC in Jordan for the organization of an Annual Conference, Task Force Meeting and field research. Furthermore, it will co-lead WP6 being the Chair of the Civil Society Group.

Team Members

Cecilia Vejby Andersen

ASILE Researcher & Chair of the Civil Society Group

Short biography

Cecilia Vejby Andersen is Head of Unit, Europe & Dublin, at the Asylum Department of the DRC. Cecilia has a legal background, and before joining DRC she worked as an asylum- and Dublin caseworker with the Danish Immigration Service. With DRC Cecilia has worked as a legal advisor, providing legal advice and representation to asylum seekers in all stages of the Danish asylum procedure, including vulnerable groups such as unaccompanied minors, trafficking survivors and single women who has been exposed to GBV. Cecilia has specialized in the Dublin-system and has established and lead DRC’s legal aid for asylum seekers in the Dublin-procedure, which DRC took on with the entering into force of the Dublin III regulation in 2014. Cecilia has been involved in strategic litigation to the ECHR and UN Committees. Through this work Cecilia has developed an extensive network amongst European civil society and other stakeholders within the field of asylum in Europe. Prior to heading the Europe & Dublin unit, Cecilia was DRC’s Legal advisor on the Refugee and Migration situation with the DRC Brussels Representation, with a focus on advocacy efforts in relation to the recast Dublin IV Regulation and other CEAS files and well as legal aspects of the EU hotspot approach.

Kathrine Starup

ASILE Researcher

Short biography

Kathrine Starup is Head of Protection Unit:  Global Protection Advisor at DRC and has more than 23 years of experience with humanitarian and displacement work. Kathrine has specialised in protection, displacement solutions for IDPs and refugees, mixed migration particularly the protection risks and impact on people on the move, including children, youth and women, and protection information management. Kathrine has worked with the UN and international and local NGOs in the field and at headquarters and has field experience from Africa and Asia. Prior to joining DRC, Kathrine worked with UNHCR in the field.

Kathrine is the co-founder of the Protection Information Management – PIM Initiative www.pim.guide (co-lead by DRC & UNHCR). She sits on the ICRC-led Advisory Group for the ‘Professional Standards for Protection Work’ since 2011 and she is on the Board of International Advisors for the Forced Migration Review (FMR).