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Herbert Smith Freehills has joined forces with the legal community to provide a collaborative pledge of 52,000 pro bono hours in support of refugees at the first-ever Global Refugee Forum.

The firm has teamed up with International NGO PILnet and nine other legal providers to present a joint pledge at the inaugural Global Refugee Forum at the United Nations this week to commit 52,000 pro bono hours per year to protect and find solutions for refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless persons, and other forcibly displaced persons.

Heads of states, business leaders, civil society representatives, development actors and refugees will be gathering in Geneva from 16th to 18th December, 2019 for the inaugural event at the Palais des Nations.

The three-day global gathering is aimed at transforming the way the world responds to refugee situations. It is looking to generate new approaches and long-term commitments from a variety of actors to help refugees and the communities in which they live. Worldwide, over 70 million people are displaced by war, conflict, and persecution. More than 25 million of them are refugees, having fled across international borders and unable to return to their homes.

Herbert Smith Freehills is being joined by nine other legal providers including: Arthur Cox; Allen & Overy; DLA Piper; Microsoft (legal); Morrison & Foerster; NSP Legal Office; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; Russell Kennedy Lawyers; and Tilleke & Gibbins, to  offer the pledge of legal assistance. Other contributions made at the Forum are expected to include financial, technical, and material assistance; and policy changes to enable greater inclusion of refugees in society; resettlement places, and the safe return for refugees as part of solutions.

The three days of discussions, special events, and high-level dialogues in Geneva will focus on key areas including: arrangements for burden and responsibility sharing; education; jobs and livelihoods; energy and infrastructure; solutions; and protection capacity.

The programme and further details about the Global Refugee Forum and related events are available here.

Herbert Smith Freehills is also proud to provide pro bono support to the UNHCR as strategic partners of MADE51 ,the UNHCR global brand of home decor and accessories crafted by refugees, in collaboration with social enterprises around the world.