Appeal to launch legal centre in Lesbos

June 22, 2016 — News

Written by IRR News Team

Lawyers are seeking support to launch a much-needed legal centre in Lesbos for those detained in refugee camps on the Island.

Lesbos sits at the apex of the ‘refugee crisis’ that has been described as the ‘worst since the Second World War’. Over 200,000 people entered Europe by sea between January and June this year, and, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), over 2,800 people died whilst making the journey: 52 per cent more fatalities than the same period last year.

In Lesbos, most of those who arrive are detained without legal representation, and face being transferred to Turkey where there is a threat of arbitrary detention and refoulement, and refugees have even been shot by border guards.

Setting up a legal centre

Lawyers and legal students are setting up a legal centre in Lesbos, to support migrants by providing legal help, bringing legal challenges and informing campaigns. The centre will assist in providing representation through working with Greek lawyers on the Island.

According to Legal Centre Lesbos:

A small group of legally trained international volunteers will be travelling to Lesbos to provide legal information to those based in the camps, assisting Greek lawyers already on the ground. The information that we collect whilst operating within the legal centre will serve as a basis for press statements, human rights reports and the formation of refugee centred legal strategies … We aim to have the centre permanently staffed by local Greek human rights lawyers and funded by institutions and organisations that will not threaten the centre’s independence nor its ability to assist and advocate on behalf of the refugees and migrants of Lesbos.

In order to set up the centre, the organisations collaborating are seeking support to finance the project, with donations going towards:

  • The purchase/construction of a legal centre in one of the camps;
  • Donations towards travel costs of the volunteers coming to Lesbos;
  • Accommodation and food for the volunteers;
  • Transport on the island;
  • Office materials required to provide legal information;
  • Legal fees for Greek lawyers when applications/representations are required.

Details of how to donate can be found here.

This initiative is supported by:

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers, European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights, Asociacion Americana de Juristas, Alternative Intervention of Athens Lawyers (Greece), Hellenic Union of Progressive Lawyers (Greece), Associazione Dei Giuristi Democratici (Italy), Indian Association of Lawyers (India), Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers (UK), Juristes Democrates de Suisse (Switzerland), German Association of Democratic Lawyers (Germany).

Related links

Find out more details about the initiative, and how to donate here

Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

Comments

June 25, 2016
Yvonne:

Might be a good idea to contact Advocates Abroad! They are already present in Greece (including Lesbos) with volunteers.

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