We are one of the very few providers of legal assistance on Lesvos and have been working inside Moria Camp since July 2016.
Since then, 144 European asylum lawyers from 17 countries have volunteered with us and – alongside our team of full-time, permanent Greek asylum lawyers – have provided free legal assistance to over 9,000 people.
Our work has real impact and demonstrates the importance of asylum seekers having access to legal assistance: of those we have assisted who have notified us of the outcome of their asylum application, 74.5% have been granted asylum, compared to an average of 46.5% in Greece.
We are the largest provider of legal assistance to asylum seekers on Lesvos. We have helped over 3,600 people with physical or mental injuries, illness or trauma be recognised as vulnerable, meaning they have been able to leave Moria and move to the Greek mainland. We have also helped over 900 people be recognised as eligible to be reunited with their family members in other European countries.
We are also the primary provider of legal assistance to unaccompanied minors who have been incorrectly registered as adults (over 500 cases in total) and asylum seekers in detention (almost 200 cases in total).
Through our work, we help uphold the rule of law, protect human rights and ensure the asylum procedure is fair, efficient and robust. We provide legal information and legal assistance to asylum seekers, in order to help them understand the asylum process and criteria, understand their rights and be fully prepared for their interview. By doing this, we help asylum seekers to go through the asylum process quickly and efficiently and ensure they are able to present their application in a way that fully reflects their need for asylum.
We cooperate closely with other organisations, particularly UNHCR, Oxfam, IRC, Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde, who often refer vulnerable individuals to us for legal assistance.
Our main activity is the provision of one-on-one legal consultations to prepare asylum seekers for their asylum interview. We are the only organisation on Lesvos that focuses on providing legal information, practical support and tailored advice to 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.
In addition, we provide three group legal information sessions in Moria each month – each of which is usually attended by approximately 25 people.
In collaboration with Oxfam and the Greek Council for Refugees, we have also recently prepared a legal information leaflet outlining the asylum process and asylum seeker’s rights. This leaflet has been translated into 10 languages. 13,000 copies of this leaflet have been printed and are being distributed to asylum seekers on Lesvos. Copies of this leaflet can be found here.
We are one of only two legal assistance organisations working in close proximity to Moria, which enables asylum seekers to freely access our services. All assistance is provided in our three dedicated consultation rooms in two containers in the Olive Grove, just outside Moria itself, to ensure that privacy and confidentiality are preserved. We also operate in the detention centre within Moria.
All photos: Cord Brügmann/ELIL