Over the past year, thanks to support from the Edith M Ellis 1985 Charitable Trust we were able to release a series of legal information videos for refugees arriving in Greece and the UK. These have included; your rights if you arrive in Greece across the Turkish land border, family reunion from Greece, to other European countries, we also created a series of videos on claiming asylum, which have been released in six languages – these included an introduction to asylum, the screening interview, the substantive interview and after a refusal of your asylum claim.
Through these videos, our online following and the demand for our service on Facebook has grown significantly, with users requesting and receiving vital information on their rights and what options are open to them in Farsi and Arabic, with increasing numbers of people messaging us in Amharic, Tigrinya, Oromo and Urdu, stretching from Greece, to France, Germany, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan and Lebanon. Through our online videos and messaging, we have been able to reach thousands of displaced people. Following our most recent video series, we received 203 private messages from Syrian refugees in Turkey, requesting information on relocation and family reunion.
However, while our service has improved, we are still facing a series of incredibly tough challenges. The recent election of right wing “New Democracy” party in Greece has already had worrying implications. In just a week, the procedure that enables asylum and migrants to get access to healthcare, education and Greek social services, has been revoked. Furthermore, over the last couple of days, a series of refugee and migrant squats have been evicted, exacerbating an already critical homelessness crisis in the Greek capital. Outside of Greece, growing tides of resentment towards refugees and asylum seekers in France, the UK and Germany have lead to a series of policies which will directly impact the lives of displaced people. Our work is therefore necessary now, more than ever.