Launched in cooperation with the Greek Bars, the project will send European lawyers to the island of Lesvos to provide primary legal assistance to migrants requiring international protection.
It will be managed on the ground by permanent staff composed of a British lawyer and a Greek lawyer from the Lesvos Bar. There will also be at least two volunteer lawyers experienced in asylum and migration law who will stay for a minimum of a fortnight, with the first set to arrive in Lesvos this week.
Crucial legal advice
The purpose of the project is to give migrants and refugees the chance to receive individual legal advice from a lawyer – crucial at a time of great uncertainty amongst the more than 4,000 on the island as to their legal entitlements.
‘A fundamental right’
CCBE President Michel Benichou said that ‘this project shows that European lawyers are aware of the situation in Lesvos and are engaged in supporting their Greek colleagues in this challenging time. Access to a lawyer is a fundamental right. Medical, food and shelter aid are all recognised as ‘first aid' rights, while legal advice is often overlooked in the context of humanitarian aid. It is hoped that legal advice will be recognised as such a right. The main aim of the project though is to ensure that every person requiring international protection is able to consult a lawyer.’