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Asylum Access

Oakland, United States
Joined August 2012
Presence in: United States
Focus: Citizenship & Identification

Asylum Access is an innovative international nonprofit dedicated to making refugee rights a reality. Asylum Access empowers refugees in Africa, Asia and Latin America to live safely, work, send children to school and rebuild their lives. We are human rights advocates who want to recognize, restore and amplify the power of people who have been forcibly displaced from their home countries. We aim to create a world where refugees everywhere can live safely, move freely, work, attend school and rebuild their lives. We advocate for a response to forced displacement that honors refugees’ freedom, dignity and autonomy, while also strengthening the communities that welcome them.


Asylum Access’s mission is to make refugee rights a reality in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Read more about how we achieve this mission here.


Asylum Access envisions a world where refugees are seen as people with rights, not just people with needs.  Asylum Access believes that by empowering refugees to assert their human rights, we can create effective, lasting solutions for refugees around the world.

Why is Asylum Access Different?

Asylum Access is the only international organization solely dedicated to making refugee rights a reality in first countries of refuge. Our unique combination of five integrated strategies provides grassroots assistance and changes the legal landscape for refugees and their host communities. By helping refugees assert their rights, we are putting power back into their hands. Our work transforms the traditional approach of endless humanitarian handouts to a sustainable solution that gives refugees the tools to provide for themselves and make choices about their own lives.Want to learn more? See news and updates from Africa, Asia and Latin America — or read about our story.

People Associated With This Organization

Amalia Greenberg Delgado

United States  
Asylum Access
Joined April 2015
As Global Legal Services Director for Asylum Access, I oversee our Community Legal Empowerment and Legal Services programs globally and in our offices in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. I help our teams develop tools that facilitate our legal empowerment work to refugee leaders and community members. In our legal services practice, we incorporate legal empowerment tools to ensure that refugees have agency in the legal strategies taken to best address their needs.

I'm interested in hearing from other practitioners and community leaders about what tools have been effective in their work.

Bahati Kanyamanza

United States  
Asylum Access
Joined May 2021
Interests: Policy Advocacy
Bahati is committed to refugees human rights and immigration. A nonprofit leader with over 15 years of experience in organization leadership and development, advocacy, program design, resource mobilization, research, capacity building for refugees, monitoring & evaluation, stakeholder engagement and operations.

A refugee for over 22 years, he has been working with refugees since his teenage age in his refugee camp in Uganda and now the U.S. Born in Zaïre now the DR Congo, at a young age, he witnessed injustices, brutality of security forces and atrocities by rebels towards civilians in his home country. When war broke out in the DR Congo, he separated from his parents, running and hiding from rebels, suffering from hunger, diseases and abductions. In 1999, at the age of 14, he became a refugee in Uganda where he lived for 18 years. He again became a refugee for the second time after being resettled to the U.S in 2016. His experiences as a refugee motivated him to become an educator and advocate.

Due to the many problems in his refugee camp which included the lack of access to quality education, early marriages, substance usage among young people, poverty among others, in 2005, he co-founded CIYOTA, to meaningfully support conflict affected children and youth in the Africa’s Great Lakes region to access quality education as well as work with families to start self-help initiatives to earn a living.

Bahati serves at the board leadership of CIYOTA and manages CIYOTA Inc.

Brian Rawson

United States  
Asylum Access
Joined December 2017
Interests: Citizenship & Identification, Governance, Accountability & Transparency, Labor & Employment, Livelihoods, Other
As an organizational consultant my work is dedicated to mobilizing people, knowledge, and resources to promote human rights in relation to global health, economic development and environmental sustainability.

I came into contact with Namati while working on refugee human rights with Asylum Access, for whom I ran advocacy and communications until June 2018, working closely with staff from Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

In joining the Namati network I am interested in connecting with rights advocates around the world and learning best practices for legal empowerment, with a particular interest in refugee and immigrant situations.

I currently live in my native San Francisco Bay Area, California. This is where my work for social justice began with the Central American solidarity movement during the early 1990s. Since that time I have led grassroots advocacy mobilizations for Oxfam America, including the creation of a national grassroots advocacy training program with teams in 15 US cities. Prior to that I organized the first international medical conference on arms trafficking on behalf of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded physicians' organization IPPNW.

I look forward to sharing ideas and legal empowerment efforts with the colleagues on the Namati network!

Chawaratt Chawarangkul

Asylum Access
Joined February 2018
Chawaratt became Senior Policy Advisor at Asylum Access Thailand in January 2017. He oversees and implements AAT’s policy advocacy plan, develops and maintains relationships with key stakeholders in Thailand and represents AAT in the Refugee Rights Coalition. Chawaratt has nine years of work experience in refugee protection and refugee resettlement processing, with years of supervisory and program management experience in Thailand and several operations in Asia.

Prior to joining AAT, Chawaratt worked with the International Rescue Committee, Resettlement Support Center (IRC-RSC) East Asia through the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). In 2016, he worked as Project Director of Bangkok Child Protection (BCP) Programme at the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Thailand.

Chawaratt holds a B.A. in Political Science from Kasetsart University and M.S. in Human Resource Management System from Golden Gate University. Currently, he is working on his M.A. in Human Rights at Mahidol

Deepa Nambiar

Asylum Access
Joined April 2016
Interests: Citizenship & Identification, Gender-based violence, Generalist Legal Services, Labor & Employment
I am the Country Director of Asylum Access Malaysia. We are a refugee rights organization based in Kuala Lumpur that provides direct legal services to refugees in respect of their refugee status applications with the UNHCR. We also have community legal empowerment programs to educate refugees about their rights in Malaysia and how to navigate the asylum process with the UNHCR. Finally, we conduct research and advocacy to advance refugee rights in the country. I hope to learn about legal empowerment methods in other countries and contexts to continue to improve and diversify our programs.

Elizabeth Otto

United States  
Asylum Access
Joined June 2018
Interests: Citizenship & Identification, Generalist Legal Services, Women's Rights
I'm currently the Associate Director of Operations at Asylum Access, and work on a variety of areas ranging from technology to human resources. In my role, I'm most interested in how legal empowerment services can be effectively managed and scaled. I also am involved in the monitoring, evaluation, and iterative planning of Asylum Access's programming. We're always striving to make sure that we're positively impacting our clients' lives and situations, and solid monitoring and evaluation tools help us better understand how our services can be improved. I'm hoping to learn more about these (and more!) areas as part of the network.

Emily Arnold-Fernandez

Asylum Access
Joined March 2015
Executive Director of Asylum Access, Human Rights lawyer and leader; expertise in international refugee law and advocacy. Interested in sharing my organization's experience with young and aspiring social entrepreneurs.

Contributed Resources:

Erika Guerra

Asylum Access
Joined August 2017
Interests: Other
I am lawyer and have been working with refugees since 2009. Nowadays I am National Legal Coordinator at Asylum Access in Ecuador, we are looking for making refugee's rights real including refugee status determination.

I studied some migration courses like refugee law at San Remo, public policies and human rights at Santiago, Chile, I also participated in some migrations conferences like haitian migration in latin america in Argentina. these courses help me to understand that migration is a global social issue that all people have to resolve due to all migrants are human beings with rights.

Faval Copedo

Asylum Access (Unverified)
Joined September 2018
Interests: Other
I am an Australian masters student starting an internship with Asylum Access and will be working on developing some documents to support their work with refugees accessing employing and education in the host countries they have arrived in. I will be working from Australia and Mexico. I look forward to learning a lot from your organization!! Thank you

Helen Leung

Asylum Access
Joined January 2016
Program Associate at Asylum Access.

Jessica Marsh

Asylum Access
Joined October 2015
Interests: Citizenship & Identification, Environmental Justice, Gender-based violence, Generalist Legal Services, Governance, Accountability & Transparency, Labor & Employment, Peace-building & Transitional Justice, Right to Information, Traditional / Customary Justice
I am a human rights lawyer with experience in Southeast Asia, the Horn of Africa, and Australia. I have worked with the Mekong Migration Network, Asylum Access Thailand, UN OCHA, the Federal Court of Australia, and UNHCR.

Areas of practice include international refugee law and humanitarian law. Areas of interest include climate change induced migration, statelessness and access to justice.

I am currently working as the Legal Program Manager for Southeast Asia, Australia and the Pacific, for TrustLaw, a global pro bono legal service, under the Thomson Reuters Foundation. TrustLaw connects high impact NGOs and social enterprises with free legal assistance around the world.

Johanna Selth

Asylum Access
Joined September 2016
Interests: Environmental Justice, Gender-based violence, Generalist Legal Services
I am the Refugee Case Manager at Asylum Access Thailand. My role involves leading a team of staff and volunteer lawyers in providing RSD and resettlement legal services to Thailand’s urban refugee communities, as well as regularly engaging with key stakeholders and assisting in policy and advocacy activities.

Matty Verburg

Asylum Access
Joined September 2015
As Asylum Access' Global Legal Services Program Associate I work with AAs offices in Asia, Africa and Latin America to develop their legal program, with a focus on CLE activities. CLE activities include know your options/know your rights trainings, sessions on refugee law and refugee's rights in the country of refuge, democratic action plans, and empowerment groups.

I am interested to join the network to learn from other experts about legal empowerment and follow the developments on this rapidly developing field.

Before I joined Asylum Access I worked at AMERA in Egypt as RSD Team Leader, managing a team of legal advisors in the provision of legal assistance to vulnerable refugee populations in Cairo and developing the legal aid programming. I also worked at IOM Sudan where I developed outreach and individual assistance programs for vulnerable migrants, and studied human trafficking and people smuggling trends across the Horn of Africa.

Megan Mcdonough

Asylum Access
Joined August 2017
Interests: Women's Rights
I am currently employed as Refugee Case Manager at Asylum Access Malaysia. This role involves overseeing the Legal Services Team in providing direct services to refugee communities in Malaysia, preparing for the adjudication of their cases before UNHCR, and upholding fair and equal access and representation for all refugees in asylum procedures.

I began my tenure at Asylum Acces in Thailand as the RSD Team Leader. My role involved working together with the AAT Protection Team to provide RSD legal services and training to Thailand’s urban refugee community, as well as supervising Volunteer Legal Advisors.

I am a licensed United States attorney, with a career focus on access to justice and humanitarian immigration policy. I previously worked in legal services in New York and Boston, where I assisted asylum-seekers and resettled refugees with navigating the immigration system, before moving to Cairo, Egypt to work as a Legal Officer with St. Andrew’s Refugee Services.

I have a J.D from Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts and is licensed to practice law in U.S. state and federal court.

Meike Kemna

Asylum Access (Unverified)
Joined March 2017
Interests: Gender-based violence, Women's Rights
As a legal expert I am combining legal challenges with actual solutions for my fellowman; it comes with my result-orientated approach. I have a broad legal background. I have work experience as a commercial attorney-at-law, as a pro deo lawyer and as legal advocate (cases involving sexual abuse by representatives of the Catholic church and international refugee cases). I am interested in women’s rights and gender (in)equality and I strongly believe that bridging the gap between the rights of men and women will contribute to a more peaceful world.

Simon McDonagh

Asylum Access (Unverified)
Joined March 2019
Simon is based in our Mexico City office and supports the Development Director in making sure that all of our donors and supporters are fully appreciated and engaged. This involves planning Asylum Access’ online and printed materials, engaging directly with donors to keep them updated on what we do, and implementing campaigns to bring more supporters into the Asylum Access family.

Prior to joining Asylum Access, Simon worked for more than four years in Tokyo at Ashinaga, one of Japan’s largest NGOs. There, Simon supported the various scholars who came to study in Japan through the organization’s Ashinaga Africa Initiative, coordinated Ashinaga’s popular internship program and also provided key communications and administrative support to all of Ashinaga’s international programs.

Simon graduated with a BA in Human Sciences from St Hugh’s College at the University of Oxford. He speaks English, French, Spanish and Japanese.

Tom Dixon

United Kingdom  
Asylum Access
Joined August 2016
Interests: Other
Refugee Legal Advisor working on global programs but focused on and based in South East Asia.

Wanrob Wararasdr

Asylum Access
Joined September 2015
Interests: Education, Gender-based violence, Livelihoods
Strengthening refugee rights

Willis Dauda

United Kingdom  
Asylum Access (Unverified)
Joined April 2017
Interests: Citizenship & Identification, Livelihoods, Traditional / Customary Justice, Women's Rights
I have an interest on the relationship of traditional and customary legal mechanisms which protect the less previleged.

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