UPDATE September 2018
Situation of homeless asylum seekers worsens as winter approaches
In the August update, we described the conditions that homeless asylum seekers in Thessaloniki have to face, many of whom have to sleep in very rough circumstances. They are not only exposed to terrible hygienic conditions and worsening weather, but also to threats and violence at the hands of smugglers and drug dealers. Lately we have witnessed an increasing number of vulnerable asylum seekers like families with little children, pregnant women and people with severe sicknesses. These extremely vulnerable segments of the asylum seeker population have been exposed to these conditions for up to two weeks until it was finally possible to provide them with official accommodation. It has now reportedly happened many times, that vulnerable persons like pregnant woman with little children were refused entry into refugees camps in the vicinity of Thessaloniki and were instead sent back to the streets, as the camps in northern Greece are completely full at the moment. Especially with winter approaching, this might soon have severe consequences for the people concerned.
To raise awareness about the conditions of homeless asylum seekers in Thessaloniki, we have collected pictures of the conditions in the streets and conducted interviews with persons affected. You can find some material here. We are also in the process of getting in contact with journalists to increase the pressure on the Greek authorities to find enough reception spaces that are up to the standards set out in European law. If you have media contacts or any other idea how to spread the word about this issue, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Researching information to ensure the quality of our work
For more than two years Mobile Info Team’s Co-Founder and Coordinator Michael has been responsible for conducting research for the team. As it is the MIT mission to always deliver accurate and up-to-date information, it is crucial to have deep and insightful knowledge of both the field and the legal framework that impacts it. Particularly in the complex and ever-changing field of migration and asylum, it is crucial to always stay ahead of the events and new developments in the field. To ensure this, Michael, with the support of his volunteers, daily check sources like the Greek Asylum Service, UNHCR or Greek and international media, to find articles and publications relevant to our work.
It also happens that background information is needed to get to the bottom of an issue. Through the freedom of information act, Michael makes requests to European and national governments for information or documents which are not open to the public. To continue and expand the quality of our assistance to asylum seekers and refugees a lot of reports need to be read, court decisions to be studied, and statistics to be evaluated. This attention to detail is necessary to be certain that that we can always provide the best advice for our family reunification cases or that the information we publish on Facebook is correct.
Collect evidence for family ties to get reunifications accepted
As we already reported before, family reunification through the so-called Dublin regulation is working either very slow or sometimes not at all. In the last year some European countries, like Germany or Austria, are asking for more and more requirements and are looking for reasons to prevent a family reunification from happening. As a result of this, a thorough preparation of a family reunification request has become a necessity. The more evidence of a family tie is made available and the better this evidence is presented, the higher the chance to avoid a lengthy process of rejections and re-examinations, that might very well lead to a final rejection.
To support these family reunification cases, MIT caseworkers inform applicants of the need to clearly prove family ties and also help in gathering documents and circumstantial evidence. Additionally, we provide translations and translated summaries of submitted evidence, as it has become apparent that a lot of cases get rejected for not providing this. It is worth noting that although this basis for rejection is not actually covered by the law, it is still happening at an increasing rate. All these steps have resulted in multiple cases been accepted right away and will hopefully help also in the future to ensure that applicants are not prevented from their right to family reunification.
Learn more about our daily work on Instagram
Our Mobile Info Team Instagram account is another channel where we provide information about our activities. Rather than sharing information about the asylum system, family reunification, or travel documents, Instagram takes a more personal approach. Here you can have a look behind the curtain, meeting members of our team and and staying up to day on the tasks we are doing and what our day looks like. Likewise, you can find pictures from internal and external meetings and hear our success stories firsthand. If you want to know more about our daily work and the people behind the team, like our interpreter Mask in the picture, have a look at our Instagram: www.instagram.com/mobileinfoteam.