Legal assistance (ICLA)
Read caption Forty-year-old Zia Gull has seven children, and her family is so poor that she could not apply for an ID card by herself. NRC helped her obtain the document in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo: Enayatullah Azad/NRC

Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)

People affected by displacement may be forced to abandon their homes and livelihoods, and often lose enjoyment of a range of rights. They are frequently at risk of multiple displacement, and may face obstacles to finding durable solutions.

People reached in 2017

A total of

992,204

people benefitted from our ICLA work

In Lebanon

269,409

people benefitted from our ICLA work

In Afghanistan

142,844

people benefitted from our ICLA work

Legal and institutional frameworks, whether statutory, customary or religious, can either provoke or perpetuate displacement and discrimination or serve as instruments of protection and empowerment. People affected by displacement require assistance to understand, interpret and navigate these frameworks.

NRC’s ICLA programmes aim to enable people affected by displacement to claim and exercise their rights and to find lasting solutions. ICLA also aims to prevent displacement for those at risk. ICLA’s activities are in accordance with the IASC Protection Policy. They promote understanding and respect for the rights of affected people and the obligations of duty bearers under international law.

Our expertise in ICLA

Our ICLA activities support people to claim and exercise their rights through information, counselling, legal assistance, collaborative dispute resolution, capacity building and advocacy. ICLA programmes may engage in public interest cases, if this will lead to a direct positive effect for a greater number of individuals or create legal precedents that can generate positive structural changes.

ICLA may use international litigation mechanisms when domestic remedies have been exhausted or are ineffective. ICLA also advocates at all levels, including international bodies, to pursue the goal of promoting respect for the rights of people affected by displacement.

ICLA programmes observe local legal, cultural and social norms without compromising our commitment to promote and respect rights established by international law. This includes the use of judicial or administrative remedies, customary or religious mechanisms, collaborative dispute resolution methodologies, and transitional justice mechanisms.

As women and children may face particular obstacles in accessing their rights, we provide specific assistance to address these.

ICLA focuses on five thematic areas:

  • housing, land and property (HLP) rights
  • legal identity, including obtaining the civil and identity documentation necessary to access rights and services
  • immigration and refugee laws and procedures, including refugee status determination and legal residency
  • government legal procedures and policies for registration of IDPs, when access to rights and services is dependent on such registration
  • employment laws and procedures

ICLA on the ground

Our ICLA teams work in 20 countries around the world. Here are some examples of the difference they make:     

AFGHANISTAN | Finding a new home

Returning to Afghanistan after living 13 years as refugees in Pakistan, the people of the town of Kishinde found their homeland in ruins. With no other options, they travelled to the outskirts and settled on vacant land.

LEBANON | Fleeing your home, living stateless

Where over one million Syrian refugees have escaped the conflict, an estimated 36,000 children born to Syrian parents are at risk of becoming stateless.

UKRAINE | Opening a new legal centre in eastern Ukraine

NRC opens a new legal aid centre in the city of Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine. The centre provides free legal advice to internally displaced people and others affected by the conflict.

Contact Details:

For more information on NRC's ICLA Programmes please contact:


For more information on NRC's work on displaced women's HLP rights, please visit the womenshlp.nrc.no , or contact: