Asylum Links EU distributes a range of up-to-date information to refugees in camps and living in urban centres. We hold information drop-in clinics, provide services and conduct research to provide info (both requested by refugees and provided by official sources) about registration in Greece and asylum choices in Europe. We work to bridge gaps on the ground by distributing translated documentation and links so that refugees can make informed choices about their future. This will lead to
• Better informed access to Asylum procedures.
• Reduced vulnerability from risks posed by issues such as homelessness, smuggling, predatory employment and mis-processing by national authorities.
• Assisting Asylum seekers in the choices they make regarding camp and non-camp accommodation, as well as decisions about issues such as where they wish to settle, how they approach family reunification, what options are available regarding access to key services and livelihood opportunities.
Having piloted a program offering information services in Calais, we took the project to Greece in May 2016, during a critical time strategically, as the Greek Government/UNHCR has embarked on the Refugee Registration Program, dispersing refugees and asylum seekers from established camps such as Idomeni to uncertain destinations. There is widespread fear among asylum seekers as to how these new agreements will affect them and uncertainty about the choices that are available to them.
The extent to which people are aware of their rights and the services available to them plays a big factor in whether such rights and provisions are ultimately provided. We provide up to date information to inform choices, and we will work to understand find what information refugees and asylum seekers want to know but cannot access. The Asylum Links Team will cascade this information to lead agencies such as UNHCR, working to research and fill the knowledge gaps wherever possible.
We are proactively researching the processes and procedures taking place on the ground, making use of internet resources and a network of caseworkers operating across Europe. We are continually compiling and distributing existing documentation/guidance; producing template information sheets that can be adapted to reflect up to date, accurate information in line with the ever changing situation on the ground.
We have talked to hundreds of people during the past two months, including refugees, volunteers and humanitarian professionals. Their feedback has guided our planning.
"This is useful to me, I speak good English, but this information is understood easy, my friends need information they can understand with little English."
Eritrean Refugee, Calais
"I need a lawyer for my case! Where do I go for this?"
Iraqi Refugee, Athens
"I know that registration is happening, but I have not seen this information"
Iraqi Refugee, Athens
"People don't always believe the information is real. Many think NGOs and volunteers work for the government. The situation changes so quickly"
Iranian Refugee, Thessaloniki
"I want to join my husband in Germany, but to do this I didn't realise that I should request this in Greece"
Afghan Refugee, Ioannina