Dispatch from Moria Refugee Camp: A Crisis within a Crisis
5 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2018 Last revised: 8 May 2018
Date Written: October 1, 2017
The civil wars in Syria and Iraq, coupled with the war in Afghanistan and political unrest throughout the broader Middle East, has led to the greatest humanitarian crisis of the twenty-first century. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are 65.6 million displaced people globally, the highest level since the end of World War II. Famine, war and persecution have led millions of refugees to flee from their homes in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. For thousands of these refugees, their first steps on European soil are taken on the island of Lesvos, Greece, just a few miles from the Turkish coast.
Upon their arrival to Lesvos, refugees are registered and assigned to one of several refugee camps. They then receive their identity cards, a medical evaluation and a date for an interview with the European Union’s (E.U.) European Asylum Support Office or with the Greek Asylum Service.
Many of these refugees arrive without a clear understanding of the asylum process, or of the criteria for granting asylum under the 1951 Refugee Convention. ELIL assists them by providing information, counseling and legal assistance. A team of ELIL project lawyers, accompanied by translators and legal assistants, act as refugees’ legal counsel, advising them of their rights, the process for applying for asylum, and the criteria for international and subsidiary protection.
Keywords: Moria Refugee Camp, European Lawyers in Lesvos, ELIL, European Asylum Support Office, asylum seekers
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