Advocates Abroad opened operations at the Idomeni, Greece border in 2016. The first teams were set up to operate temporarily, only to mitigate the legal crisis at that border.
Within its first week, Advocates received 350 applications to join the field team and 700 messages from refugees in Greece and Turkey.
Since Idomeni, 670 local and foreign teams have been trained and deployed into nine countries on field missions.
Advocates Abroad remote teams operate on seven online platforms, and have assisted refugees originating from over 65 countries.
Legal Field Teams: Greece & Italy & Turkey & Switzerland
Advocates provides permanent on the ground legal aid in three regions of Italy and seven regions of Greece. Field teams operate throughout as requested in Turkey and Switzerland.
Advocates are trained to operate in crisis situations and to provide reliable, timely, and accurate legal aid. Accordingly, field teams run legal aid clinics in camps, shelters, and community centers. They provide critical assistance in preparing refugees for asylum interviews, and assist in family reunification applications and appeals. Advocates run legal and non-legal information sessions, and report human rights abuses and violations to the national and EU Ombudsman.
Remote Legal Team
The Remote Team consists of attorneys, many of whom previously served on the field teams. This team is responsible for responding to questions and calls for support from refugees and asylum seekers submitted over Facebook and email, oftentimes from around the world. The team provides answers and advice immediately, and refers cases out to field teams or third party partners on the ground.
The Research Team consists of legal professionals and law students who research and draft, often under urgent time constraints, reports on human rights conditions and current legal topics concerning current refugee aid in the EU. This team also reviews and responds to the legal questions of all the Advocates teams and partners. The team focuses on country condition reports that assist particularly traumatized refugees in their asylum claims. The reports cover the basis for recognizing instability in a country by citing only state and well regarded NGO/IGO research, and further cover the macro-political and supranational relations contributing to national instability.
Advocates Interpreters are an indispensable group based both in the field and remotely. They provide around the clock services to Advocates, refugees, and partners in need in over 25 languages. These Advocates are fluent for reading and writing, and comfortable with working with all refugees in need, regardless of their background or identity.
Mental Health & Psychosocial Services Teams
Advocates has connected with a dedicated group of psychologists, trauma therapists and other medical professionals to attend to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers. They provide psychological evaluations and reports for asylum seekers, medical assistance, crisis intervention assistance, and provide support to all the Advocates volunteers. These Advocates have a strong background in both field and academic work in mental health stabilization and trauma therapy. Advocates also always welcome general practitioners and consulting doctors or nurses.