Dear Gene Keys Society,
In May, we have continued to work tirelessly to improve the situation of asylum seekers and refugees in Greece, and have helped them to navigate through the complex procedures. We are really grateful for your interest in our work and hope you will also follow and support what we do in the future. Here is what we achieved in May:
Cases where we made a difference
Last month we again had a couple of success stories that we would like to share with you. Several cases that we’ve been following for a long time have now received their travel dates and will be reunified with their husbands and children in other European countries very soon! One of them, Omar*, was in a really challenging situation in Greece because of his very bad health status. Michael, his caseworker at the Mobile Info Team, handed in additional documents, had countless phone calls with and wrote several statements to the German authorities to convince them to approve of Omar’s reunification request, which, after this sustained effort, they finally did. He can now fly to Germany to get help from his family and hopefully find a solution to his severe health issues. We are incredibly happy and proud about this and wish Omar all the best in the world for his new life there! In addition, we also had another court case victory in Germany. In mid-May, a German court ruled that the German authorities need to let Mahmoud* and his family enter Germany as soon as possible. Because of this Mahmoud and his family were able to travel to Germany by end of May, instead if being stuck in an uncertain situation in Greece and finally be together with their young daughter, who they haven’t had seen for more than two years.
*names were changed to insure privacy
German authorities again trying to keep families apart!
At the beginning of 2018, the German authorities started to reject a lot of family reunifications from Greece. In all, more than 2/3 of nearly 900
requests were rejected from January 2018. A lot of them were rejected for reasons that are not stated in the law, and seem to be badly hidden excuses to not allow family members to enter and to gain votes from those who currently support the German right wing party the AFD. This has been leading to a lot of sadness and desperation for the affected people. Nahida*, one of the cases we are following, was rejected twice for not providing documents that, under the law, she was never supposed to have provided. She will now most likely be unable to live together with her husband in Germany. Both of them are thinking to leave Europe and go back to Turkey, were the living conditions are terrible, but where they can at least be together.
*name was changed to insure privacy
The Mobile Info Team has started to prepare asylum seekers for their asylum interviews
The asylum interview is for a lot of asylum seekers a very important moment in their life. Here the decision will be made about whether they will be able to stay in the safety and protection of a European State or might be send back to their country of origin. Unfortunately we have seen several cases where asylum seekers have been rejected, in spite of having valid reasons for getting refugee status. However, they were not able to present these reasons accurately in the interview because of a lack of preparation and knowledge about the process. Though the asylum procedure should be transparent and easily understandable, it often unfortunately is the opposite. This is why we have now started to prepare asylum seekers for their interview, making sure that nobody falls through the cracks of a complicated, and sometimes unjust system. We take time to sit with people and listen to their story, seeing which parts are relevant and those that aren’t, to help provide and find documents to prove their statements, and inform applicants about their rights and obligations during the interview itself.
Awareness about human trafficking
Human trafficking has destroyed countless lives. Unfortunately it often strikes asylum seekers and refugees because they are in a particularly vulnerable situation and especially in danger of falling for human traffickers and their fake promises. To be able to identify potential human trafficking victims and to know how to react in cases like this, the Mobile Info Team coordinator Michael and caseworker Lea attended the victim identification workshop for field professionals by A21. A21 is an NGO which has devoted their work to fight modern slavery and human trafficking. It is planned that we will disseminate information about the hotline for human trafficking victims on our Facebook page this month, to ensure that as many people know about this service and can access it in case of need.
Have a look at our website if you want to stay up to date about new developments in family reunification or asylum matters: www.mobileinfoteam.or
We hope you will have a good and inspiring month!