ELIL began operations in Moria Reception and Identification Centre on Lesvos in early August 2016.
Since then, we have welcomed 123 volunteer lawyers from 17 countries and provided free legal assistance to over 5,400 people, from 57 different countries (over 3,340 cases).
Our work has a real impact and demonstrates the importance of asylum seekers having access to legal assistance: of the asylum seekers we have assisted and who have notified us of the outcome of their asylum application, 74.7% have been granted asylum, compared to an average of 46.5% in Greece.
All assistance is provided in our dedicated preparation rooms in our container in Moria, to ensure privacy and confidentiality are preserved. We also operate in the PROKEKA detention area within Moria.
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. We always ensure we have at least one French speaking lawyer, as French is the third most widely spoken language in Moria.
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.
We have welcomed volunteer lawyers from Greece, France, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Iceland, Lithuania, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, Poland and the United Kingdom. Each volunteer lawyer stays for a minimum of 3 weeks.
We operate in Moria from Monday to Friday. In total, our volunteers have contributed over 25,800 hours of voluntary work.
All our lawyers work on a pro bono basis and collaborate closely with their colleagues from the Greek Bar Associations. Where any litigation is required before a court or tribunal in Greece, contact is made with a Greek Bar or a member of the Greek bars.