In 2016, we opened our first office on Chios to address the growing need for legal services for asylum seekers in the overcrowded EU Hotspot Vial. Since then, we have focused on challenging the unlawful living conditions and administrative practices in Vial, and in January 2021 we expanded the project to EU Hotspot Pyli on Kos.
We work to ensure that asylum seekers trapped in the EU Hotspots have access to the rights they are entitled to under EU and Greek law, including housing, medical and social services. We also advocate for clients to be moved from the islands to mainland Greece by applying to the Greek authorities for their transfer or submitting complaints before the European Court of Human Rights.
Since the EU-Turkey statement was signed in March 2016, the claims of thousands of asylum seekers have been rejected on the islands, on the grounds that they can allegedly be safely returned to Turkey. We represent asylum seekers on Chios and Kos at every stage of the asylum and deportation procedure and challenge the administrative malpractices including the misapplication of the safe third country concept with a view to Turkey.
We also report on the inhumane living conditions in the EU hotspots as well as on the illegal practice of rejecting asylum seekers without giving them access to a fair and thorough asylum procedure.