why legal aid is needed – The Oxford Student
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It has been a long time since newspapers were inundated with images of camps in Greece proclaiming that there was a ‘refugee crisis’ that was to define the European political landscape of 2015 and shape immigration policy decisions. for the coming years. But what is commonly referred to as the ‘refugee crisis’ has very little to do with the refugees and asylum seekers themselves, and much more with Europe’s handling of the events leading up to this year – the. What the European media too easily described as a threatening external problem was not a crisis generated by people fleeing persecution. If we want to talk about “crisis” we could talk about the Syrian civil war (and the Western military involvement in it), or the other life-threatening situations that force people to flee to Europe. . We could talk about the woefully inadequate provision of food and shelter once these people arrive in Europe. We could speak of a crisis of compassion which shaped European border policy in the months and years that followed.
What we can certainly talk about is a legal crisis: legal aid is considerably underfunded in Greece, where the situation is most serious, as well as across Europe, which means that many Asylum seekers cannot meet with a lawyer before their asylum interview. . Given the complexity of the right to asylum and the importance of the interview in determining the future of people (whether or not they are granted asylum and whether they are allowed to stay), it is troubling to think that a large number of people participating in these interviews have absolutely no legal preparation. . Many people do not realize that the asylum interview is a purely legal process, just like a divorce case, and the burden of proof is on the asylum seeker to demonstrate that they have fled a well-founded fear of persecution. in order to be recognized as a refugee. Evidence is needed to prove not only that they are in danger in their home country, as in the event of a civil war, for example, but that they face specifically personalized persecution.
We could speak of a crisis of compassion which shaped European border policy in the months and years that followed.
Just five minutes with a lawyer can give an asylum seeker a basic understanding of the procedure, so they know what to do. It can also be used to identify things like memory loss or trauma, which have significant impacts on the requester’s ability to relate what happened to them. Legal Aid can also handle appeal requests and correct errors in transcripts. In the short term, legal aid minimizes the risk that a person with a legitimate asylum claim will be unfairly deported and brings together family members scattered across Europe again. This assistance enables refugees to start prosperous lives beyond the camps and obtain rights to education, housing and health care. In the longer term, legal aid also reduces pressure on asylum services, preventing unnecessary appeals and reducing pressure on services inside refugee camps.
This is where SolidariTee comes in, an international student-led charity that seeks to raise awareness and sustainably support people affected by the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean. We believe that legal aid is a long-term and sustainable solution to the European ârefugee crisisâ and to the struggles against displacement around the world. That is why we offer grants to NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that provide legal aid and other forms of long-term and empowering support to asylum seekers. Our NGOs are carefully selected to maximize the impact of our grants. We also work to raise awareness and educate the international community on the injustices perpetrated against refugees and asylum seekers around the world, and on how we can create positive and lasting change to defend the rights of all affected. through forced displacement. You can find out more about the organizations supported by SolidariTee here.
Legal aid is a long-term and sustainable solution to the European ârefugee crisisâ and to the struggles against displacement around the world.
Both our fundraising and outreach are carried out on college campuses across the world, particularly in the UK. Our dedicated representatives sell our iconic organic SolidariTees, featuring artwork from refugees and asylum seekers. We also run events and activities in Oxford throughout the year, which you can follow through our Facebook page. If you would like to join the SolidariTee Oxford team or would like to purchase a t-shirt, contact Beth Molyneux ([emailÂ protected]), or apply directly here.
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