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Dentons wins pro bono award for refugee advocacy

Dentons named Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year at the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) Middle East Awards

Dubai, 21 November 2018 – Dentons, the world's largest law firm, was named Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year at the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) Middle East Awards, held in Dubai in October. Led by a team of lawyers in the Middle East, and supported by colleagues globally, the Firm has undertaken numerous projects to help alleviate the suffering of refugees.
Leveraging its broad Middle East network, the Firm has primarily served Syrian refugees living in the three countries hit hardest by the Syrian Civil War—Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan—by providing pro bono advice to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) on public international law and local law that impacts refugees living in each of those jurisdictions. The Firm has also partnered with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) to help interview refugees, translate documentation and prepare UNHCR resettlement applications, in addition to providing corporate, employment and regulatory advice to the International Medical Corps in relation to its operations assisting over 650,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan. Dentons' Senior Legal Consultant, John Balouziyeh, has also dedicated royalties from his book, Hope and a Future: The Story of Syrian Refugees (2016), to NRC and other refugee organisations.

Additional projects in relation to Syrian refugees include working with the Hintalovon Foundation on child protection matters and the Olive Tree Community Center (OTCC) on helping women and children rebuild their lives by offering skills development training, including handicraft workshops and small-business management courses.

Beyond the Syrian refugee crisis, sixteen offices across Dentons' network in the Middle East, Europe and North America additionally collaborated in advising the Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG) on the protections afforded under public international law to internally displaced persons and civilians in Iraq, in addition to working with the PILPG to analyse the practice of international tribunals in adjudicating genocide in the case of the Rohingya Crisis.

Lastly, Dentons recently partnered with Reprieve in advocating for the rights of Libyan nationals who have faced punishment as a result of governmental counter-terror policies in the form of rendition, torture, extrajudicial imprisonment or extrajudicial killing.

On winning the award, Middle East Managing Partner Paul Jarvis comments, "This recognition is a strong testament to the impact Dentons can make with its deep understanding of local law and culture built up over our fifty years in the Middle East."
Senior Legal Consultant John Balouziyeh, who leads the Firm's Middle East refugee advocacy project adds, "I am delighted to see the passion, commitment and boundless energy demonstrated by the team across our offices in the Middle East, Europe and the US recognised, and proud of the real difference we are making to the plight of refugees globally."