Introduction

Introduction

Choosehumanity.CH (Switzerland) has facilitated the registration of a new legal entity in Greece. The NGO’s Greek name is ΠΡΩΤΑ Ο ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΣ (Choosehumanity). It is pronounced PROTA O ANTHROPOS. The A.Ss.I.S.T. project is first initiative of Choosehumanity – Greece.

Professional legal information provision and interview preparation assures that the rights of asylum seekers are protected. Experience to date shows that interview preparation and the presence of legal representation assures adherence to fair process.  It contributes to lessening suffering by connecting asylum seekers to available welfare services, by increased respect shown, moral support and thereby it is anticipated that it will also reduce the length of time spent in process, time spent in the poor living conditions in Vial Camp, the ‘containment facility’ which lies 6.8 kms from the town centre of Chios. It has been well evidenced that the asylum seeking process is physically, emotionally and psychologically debilitating for asylum seekers given the trauma of leaving their home countries and the conditions in which they are forced to live during the application process.

Large numbers of asylum seekers, mainly from the Middle East and central African countries, continue to arrive from Turkey on the Island of Chios. Greek authorities, in coordination with the European Union, automatically detain all asylum seekers and migrants who arrive on the Aegean islands, of which Chios is one, one of the ‘hotspots’ of the refugee crisis. The detention of about 2000 people creates great hardship especially for vulnerable people: torture victims, children, pregnant women and people with disabilities and others with serious health problems.  It is to be remembered that the local community, itself in economic crisis, is also bearing the burden of the number of asylum seekers living on the Island.

At present, there are insufficient well-qualified and experienced lawyers based for extended periods of time to provide information sessions and the continuity of case management to those in the early stages of the application process for international protection. 

Asylum Seekers Information Services Team (A.Ss.I.S.T.)’s role is to ensure that as many asylum seekers as we can assist are well informed and duly ‘heard’. Our aim is to serve the asylum seeker community by providing a high standard of information services[1] to asylum seekers – both bona vide ‘refugees’ and those ineligible for asylum. Choosehumanity – Greece is committed to fair process and natural justice.

[1] Best Practice Guide