Please do join the RLS team for this years legal walk to raise critically needed funds to keep the legal clinic going in Athens. You will have fun with nice people -we will head off a bit later than other teams, so about 6pm, and plan sensual treats along the way! If you cannot join the walk, please do make a donation and please do circulate widely this post to others who may wish to join the walking team / DONATE!
Why it is important:
While the now chronic migrant crisis in Greece has dropped out of the mainstream media, the situation for refugees stuck in Greece remains critical. As at 26.04.19, 15,127 people have arrived by boat on the island hotspots so far in 2019. For 2018, UNHCR recorded 50,500 land and sea arrivals to Greece. Transfers out of Greece to other European countries however remain under 10.000 per year. With borders closed, refugees arriving in Greece cannot easily or legally move on to join family members in other European countries. Yet the maintenance of family unity is a key objective in all foundational humanitarian instruments.
Many of those stuck in Greece have the legal right to family reunification, in their best interests and the best interest of host countries. However, negotiating the complex and politicised legal procedures to access this right is procedurally and legally challenging, extremely slow and increasingly requires formal legal challenge. Access to expert advice and representation is vital to many to enable them to reach family members.
Sadly the the supply of legal advice and representation available to refugees in Greece is massively outstripped by demand. Recent losses of funding to a number of legal advice provider NGO’s has resulted in advice deserts and in many place a complete absence of legal assistance. The RLS team at the clinic in Athens tell us that the demand for our services has never been more acute. Outcomes confirm that the work is worthwhile eg. the most recent clinic report (15-29/march/2019) notes; 3 acceptances for transfer (1 Afghan to join wife and kids in Norway, 1 Syrian to join wife in Sweden, Afghan to join wife and newborn in Switzerland) and 1 grant of refugee status in Greece to a Cameroonian female. See RLS website for testimonials.
Our hope this year is to have a large team of walkers and to raise sufficient to cover several months running costs for the clinic. 97% of all funds raised go to service delivery, every eligible donation attracts Gift Aid, every penny will be well spent! If you are a lawyer and your organisation is already taking part in the walk please do consider urging them to walk for for RLS.
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