Human Rights Law Centre

Refugee Week

Founded in 1998 and held every year around World Refugee Day on the 20th of June, Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. 

Refugee Week gives us the opportunity to recognise and celebrate the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and other forced migrants. Held every year, Refugee Week encourages us to consider why people are forced to leave their countries and the challenges they face in seeking safety. Refugee Week is an opportunity for us to connect with, listen to and learn from each other. This year's Refugee Week theme is 'Compassion'.

For Refugee Week in 2023, student caseworkers at the Human Rights Law Centre Refugee Clinic produced a Special Newsletter containing a range of resources to help put compassion into action. On this page, you can find some of our featured articles or you can download the full newsletter below.

Download our Refugee Week PDF newsletter


An Interview with Adel Hamad: A Refugee's journey to Education and Advocacy.

Adel Hamad is a refugee from Syria. He came to seek asylum in the UK after fleeing the conflict in his home country in 2012. He now works for the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum (NNRF) and is currently undertaking a ---- degree at the University of Nottingham. We had the chance to speak to Adel, who was able to tell us more about his journey to the UK. When discussing his research at the University, Adel told us the following:

What stood out the most was that none of the refugees or asylum seekers wanted to be labelled as such. It was not their choice to flee their country, and it is crucial for us to stand together and support those who have been forced to leave everything behind due to their race, religion, or other factors beyond their control.

Upon arriving in Nottingham, Adel sought support from the NNRF, who helped him to navigate the challenges of starting a new life in the UK. He began volunteering with them to help support other refugees, and now works as UKRS Caseworker.

Find out more about Adel's story and his approach to research and advocacy.

Supporting Refugees in Nottingham: Organisations Making a Difference

As Nottingham celebrates Refugee Week, we wanted to highlight some charities in Nottingham doing fantastic work  helping refugees and asylum seekers in Nottingham.

Student Action for Refugees (STAR)

STAR is the national network of students building a more understanding and just society where refugees are welcomed and can thrive in the UK.

STAR members volunteer locally and work directly with refugees, building understanding and connections. They campaign nationally for policy change and equal access to higher education for refugees and learn about refugee protection in the UK with experts and peers.

Refugee Roots

Refugee Roots is a Christian charity that helps asylum seekers and refugees build relationships and navigate the complexities of building a new life in the UK.

Their mission is to create ‘a place to belong’ for refugees and asylum seekers. They want refugees to feel welcome and valued and want to provide support to help rebuild lives with dignity.


Read more about the charities in Nottingham that are supporting refugees.

The Illegal Migration Bill: Examining the Challenges and Implications for Asylum Seekers and Refugees with Dr Natalie Hodgson

Dr Natalie Hodgson is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham School of Law and heads the Human Rights Law Centre’s Forced Migration Unit.

She spoke to us about the UK’s current political climate and its effects on the rights and lives of refugees, with a specific focus on the controversial Illegal Migration Bill that is currently being considered by Parliament.

Refugees Welcome Image

Dr Hodgson explained that the Bill would prohibit claims of asylum from people who travelled to the UK through other safe countries. Yet, due to the prohibition on refoulement found under Article 33 of the Refugee Convention, the UK cannot send anyone back to the country that they came from if their is a risk to their lives. Governments also cannot send people to any other country if they would face serious harm living there. 

This means that tens of thousands of people will be forced into a state of limbo - they will not be permitted to claim asylum in the UK, but they will not have anywhere else that they can go.

Refugee rights are human rights. Any violation of human rights affects all of us, because these are rights to which we are all entitled by virtue of being human. If you care about human rights, then you should be concerned about the Illegal Migration Bill.

Read the full interview with Dr Natalie Hodgson.

Want to get involved?

We asked a range of charities, based in both Nottingham and internationally, about how people can get involved in their work. This is what they told us:

Student Action for Refugees (STAR) Nottingham

Students can join STAR via our page on the Student Union's website and alumni/non-students are also welcome to participate through the SU's associate membership. Our volunteering activities include a weekly Wednesday English Class in collaboration with the Red Cross and a weekly Women's group at the Women's Centre. We also run events, socials, and fundraisers throughout the year, so there is lots to get involved with. Follow our Instagram for more information: @star_nottingham.

Across Borders

We are a small group of volunteers with only one paid staff member so we're always open to hearing from people who are enthusiastic to get involved and support the work. This could be with project support, fundraising or comms work which includes our social media or any others skills that a volunteer can bring. Across Borders is at an exciting point because we're working on our strategy for the 3-5 years so it's a great time to join us and be involved in the expansion of our work. Find out more by visiting or contact us at

Saint Andrews Refugee Services (StARS)

Law students admitted to the University of Nottingham’s Human Rights Law Centre project with StARS support our Refugee Legal Aid Programme (RLAP) remotely by contributing to our first instance and appeals casework and research for refugee status determination, as well as protection and resettlement referrals. Several times a year, RLAP also recruits volunteer legal advisors to work in Cairo for at least six months. Volunteers receive some initial intensive training following which they work directly with RLAP clients in workshops, one-on-one interviews, and on casework. Expressions of interest for volunteering can be sent along with a CV to:

Refugee Roots

We are always welcoming volunteers to be part of our work. We have opportunities for one-to-one befriending, assisting conversational language groups and supporting creative activities too.  We are also always looking out for fundraisers like Otto who may be looking for a challenge or a way to use their networks of friends, family and online communities to raise much needed funds for the charity. Set up a fundraising page today and be part of the difference.  Join us during Refugee Week for a whole range of events to find out more! 

Human Rights Law Centre

School of Law
University of Nottingham
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