European Lawyers in Lesvos: Call for Volunteers

European Lawyers in Lesvos gGmbH (“ELIL”) is an independent, charitable non-profit organisation. It was established by the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and the German Bar Association (DAV).

Our team of Greek asylum lawyers and volunteer European asylum lawyers provide free, independent legal assistance to asylum seekers on the Greek island of Lesvos. Our lawyers support, and work closely with, their colleagues from the Greek Bar Associations.

There are currently more than 8,500 asylum seekers on Lesvos, the majority of whom are from Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan. Many of these often severely traumatised, ill or injured people have a limited understanding about their legal rights, the complex and ever-changing asylum process and the criteria applied when their applications are assessed. Many attend their asylum interview without having spoken to a lawyer and may be unaware of the possibility of reunification with their family in other EU member states.

We believe that every asylum seeker should be able to receive free legal assistance, from an independent lawyer with experience in asylum law, before their asylum interview. Through our activities, we aim to provide this free legal assistance to as many asylum seekers as possible on Lesvos.

We are one of the few providers of legal assistance on Lesvos and have been operational inside Moria Camp, Lesvos, since August 2016. Since then, we have welcomed 131 volunteer lawyers from 17 countries and provided free legal assistance to over 7,570 people, from 58 different countries.

The team includes up to six volunteer asylum lawyers, a legally-trained project coordinator, two Greek asylum lawyers (one as legal coordinator), two legal assistants and full-time Arabic and Farsi interpreters.

Our work has two core elements. Our primary focus is the provision of one-on-one legal consultations to help asylum seekers prepare for their asylum interviews (this interview determines whether or not they will be granted asylum). We are the only legal assistance organisation that focuses on providing information, practical support and tailored advice for asylum seekers at this crucial stage of the asylum process. We also help reunite families by assisting with family reunification applications under the Dublin Regulation. We receive many referrals from medical and protection actors, including UNHCR, Oxfam, IRC, MSF and MDM.

ELIL covers the cost of each volunteer’s travel to Lesvos (up to a maximum of €500) and provides accommodation and a daily allowance of €20 per day to cover expenses.

We are currently welcoming applications from potential volunteer lawyers for any time during the period 1 October – 31 December 2018 (although please do not hesitate to get in contact if you would like to apply for a period outside these dates). For more information about our work, please visit https://www.europeanlawyersinlesvos.eu/. For information on how to apply, please visit https://www.europeanlawyersinlesvos.eu/volunteer/.