Thinking of a Career in Emergency Management?
- BY Nicole Pelette
There are currently almost 40,000 asylum seekers on the Greek Aegean islands, the vast majority of whom have fled Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq. The asylum process they go through is a complex and ever-changing legal procedure that is difficult to navigate. Despite this, there is no state-provided legal aid available for asylum seekers before their asylum interviews and so the majority of them attend their interview without having spoken to a lawyer. The only way an asylum seeker can receive legal assistance in relation to their asylum interview is through one of the few NGOs on the islands.
Without access to legal assistance, asylum seekers often do not know their rights or understand the process and the criteria applied when their asylum applications are assessed. They are therefore significantly disadvantaged when they attend their asylum interview and often suffer problems and delays in the processing of their asylum applications. This absence of legal information and legal assistance puts human rights at risk and undermines the rule of law.
European Lawyers in Lesvos (“ELIL”) is a charity registered in Germany and Greece. It was founded by the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and the German Bar Association (DAV) in 2016. These organisations represent the bars and law societies of 45 European member, associate and observer countries, and through them more than 1 million European lawyers. ELIL is now also supported by the Conseil national des barreaux (CNB).
ELIL was inspired by belief in the fundamental importance of upholding the rule of law, protecting human rights and ensuring meaningful access to legal assistance. Our team of Greek asylum lawyers and volunteer European asylum lawyers provide free, independent legal assistance to asylum seekers and, so far, we have provided free legal assistance to over 11,000 people on Lesvos.
Our main activity is the provision of one-on-one legal consultations to prepare asylum seekers for their asylum interview. We also help reunite families by assisting with family reunification applications under the Dublin Regulation and assist unaccompanied minors (interview preparation, family reunification and age assessment). In addition, we provide regular group legal information sessions and have recently prepared a legal information leaflet in collaboration with Oxfam and the Greek Council for Refugees, which was translated into 10 languages and distributed through 13,000 copies.
After four years of successful work on Lesvos, ELIL is now beginning a new project on the Greek island of Samos, where there are 7,000 asylum seekers with limited access to legal assistance.
To respond to the unprecedented need for legal assistance on Samos, we are looking to recruit a committed and experienced asylum lawyer to join our team.
Skills and experience required: