NANSEN is a Belgian non-profit organisation started up in 2017 by a group of committed and experienced lawyers and academics in the field of asylum, to bring together and make available multidisciplinary expertise in order to assist persons in need of international protection.

The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR recognized NANSEN as its national partner by granting it a legal aid project.

Lawyers and other practitioners (field workers, visitors of detention centres, etc.) can request NANSEN to support or intervene in an individual asylum file.

NANSEN is also committed to bringing together academic expertise with practical experience in order to generate a mutually enriching exchange. It works together with universities UGent, ULB and UCL on research and study activities. The organisation is committed to maintaining an independent position.

Legal form
Non-profit organization

NANSEN main objective is to improve the quality of legal aid to asylum seekers, with extra attention for those in detention.  In order to achieve this, NANSEN directly supports legal practitioners with technical legal advice in individual asylum cases, and looks to expand expertise on asylum together with the academic world.

NANSEN is working towards the strengthening and the full implementation of protection standards for asylum seekers in migration detention centres, by ensuring legal assistance and supporting their asylum claims. The practical implementation of legal protection standards for detained asylum seekers are core to NANSEN mandate.

Main Activities
  • Legal assistance to persons in need of international protection
  • Support to lawyers and legal professionals
  • Visiting and monitoring detention centres
  • Capacity building
  • Strategic litigation
  • Sound expertise in human rights and international protection law
  • Strong partnerships with civil society in the same field
  • Mutual trust relationship with the national asylum authorities
  • Strong academic partnerships
  • Multidisciplinary expertise
  • Committed staff and management board
Finance and Main Partners


A European Foundation that has preferred not to be mentioned