This time next month, I will be on the Greek Island of Chios to assist with refugee work partnered with the solicitor’s firm Reed Smith and the Greek NGO, Metadrasi. I will be helping to provide legal assistance to refugees on the island, along with colleagues on Chios, Lesvos and Samos. There is an overwhelming need for more lawyers with a specialism in asylum and immigration law and so I volunteered to help.
The main area of work will involve representing refugees in adjudications conducted by European Asylum Support Office (EASO) pursuant to the EU-Turkey deal. Their goal is to ensure: (1) refugees who legitimately fear harm in Turkey are not sent there; (2) refugees who legitimately fear harm in their countries of origin have access to asylum in Greece; and (3) refugees who have family in other parts of Europe may seek relocation or family reunification through the Greek asylum system. I will be mostly conducting asylum interviews in the refugee camp and representing people at the EASO adjudications.
We will also be supporting refugee children, particularly where they are separated from family members in other parts of Europe; helping gather evidence to support litigation on behalf of children in the European Court of Human Rights, and monitoring conditions for refugee children trapped in camps in Athens and the Greek islands.
I hope to get a better idea of how the delicate EU-Turkey deal works in practice and who is best placed to protect refugee’s rights on the front-line in the newly configured EASO hearings.
I will be blogging periodically. Please see back here for details.