Welcome to the 1. Newsletter of

Who are we?
I Have Rights is a new legal organisation operating on Samos, Greece. We emerged from the Refugee Law Clinic Berlin after operating on the island for more than 3 years. We decided to found a new organisation to be able to focus on the situation in Greece and be independent from the German association.
I Have Rights is continuing all the legal projects from the Refugee Law Clinic such as interview preparations, legal assistance and legal workshops.

After a period of building up and restructuring the organisation, in February 2022 the team started to provide legal support to asylum seekers on Samos. In the last weeks we trained new team members, worked on our internal structures and met new beneficiaries.

It’s time to introduce ourselves and what we’re working on!

Meet the team

Our current team on Samos consists of a Greek lawyer (Stavroula), a Legal Coordinator (Ella), an Administrative Coordinator (Mara), Legal Case Workers (Bela & Lukas), Advocacy Coordinators (Roxy & Lea) and French Interpreters (Beatrice & Lea).
In addition, the organisation is supported by a remote team consisting of the board members, a mental health team, Administrative Coordinators and interpreters.

Although our organisation is newly founded, we are able to take over a lot of experience from the Refugee Law Clinic and many of our team members have worked in this field for a long period.

The current situation on Samos

Movement restrictions
Shortly after the new prison-like camp was opened, it turned into a de facto prison for many asylum seekers, and the European Commission is clearly aware of that. Since mid-November 2021, newly registered asylum seekers as well as people whose asylum claim has been rejected are denied their freedom of movement because they don’t have a valid asylum seeker ID-cards to pass the strict entry controls of the closed camp facilities. People affected by this arbitrary detention are prevented from accessing basic services provided in the city and are locked up behind barbed-wire fences.

Access to health care
In addition, access to health care is very restricted since there is no doctor operating inside the camp since the end of February this year. A doctor from another island was sent to Samos for only three days in the last week but this is not a sustainable long-term solution. Not only does the lack of doctors prevent people from accessing health care, it also denies their right to a fair vulnerability assessment that could enable individuals in need of specific care to be transferred to the mainland.

In the last years, pushbacks have become a common practice in the Aegean. In March 2022, 45 pushback cases were reported by the Aegean Boat Report, which corresponds in total to 947 people being illegal returned back to Turkey and violating their right to ask for asylum in Europe.
To get more information about pushbacks, you can read:

infomigrants.net – Row deepens over allegations of pushbacks in the Aegean
politico.eu – Adrift in uncertain waters: Migrant pushbacks in the Aegean

Our work

Legal case work

Legal workshops
Another focus of our work is to provide different legal workshops. In these workshops we give basic information about the asylum procedure, for example we focus on what to do when people receive a positive or a negative decision on their asylum application. The number of people attending varies between 5 to 20 people.

Take action today!

To be able to provide our legal services in the future and improve our work, we rely on your support. Our current goal is to raise money for a fair salary for an Arabic/Somali interpreter from the refugee community. With an on-site interpreter we can create a safe and comfortable environment in our appointments for our beneficiaries.

See you next month!

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