Update: Critical need for legal services after Moria camp fire

Legal organisations in the Moria camp in Lesvos call for urgent measures to protect asylum seekers on the island

Thousands have been left without shelter or adequate access to food and water since a fire earlier this month completely destroyed the camp. Many have been re-located to the neighbouring camp of Kara Tepe, where reports of poor sanitation have stoked concerns about the vulnerability of the site to a new outbreak of Covid-19.

Lawyers providing legal aid to refugee clients have been blocked from entering the site due to health concerns, with little information to help those in the camp to access vital services or psychological support.

The announcement of the resumption of asylum procedures has prompted alarm amongst NGOs on the island about the limited access to legal assistance. The logistical restrictions of the new arrangements have prevented many asylum seekers from complying with the minimum legal requirements that enable their claims to be heard. A joint statement from legal organisations operating in Lesvos calls for the suspension of:

  1. All the asylum seekers’ legal obligations
  2. All the relevant deadlines, and
  3. All interviews

until it has been ensured that asylum seekers are in a position to exercise their legal rights fully in the context of a fair and effective asylum procedure.

Read the joint press release about the current procedures regarding asylum seekers during the on-going emergency situation. Support Oxfam’s appeal here.

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