ASILE Civil Society Group

Danish Refugee Council

Description of organisation 

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.

Staff Profile

Cecilia Vejby Andersen

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

Head of Protection Unit: Global Protection Advisor at DRC 

Kathrine 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 (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).