Sciences Po Refugee Help’s Asylum Aid Team works predominantly with asylum seekers in the streets or placed in housing centres. Our team also accompanies and advises particularly vulnerable populations, and conducts research projects linked to the right to asylum. Our Team’s primary aim is to uphold the rights of asylum seekers, including due process, access to healthcare and access to housing, drawing from a detailed understanding of relevant procedures and their implementation. All of our volunteers are trained on the asylum process in France.
Our Mobile Clinics
Our mobile teams consist of volunteers trained in the French asylum seeking process and translators. This team organises mobile street clinics each weeknight, making rounds around north Paris to meet homeless asylum seekers and refugees. During these street rounds, volunteers distribute informative documents on the asylum seeking process, answer various questions on issues encountered, and where applicable, redirect cases towards legal clinics where lawyers are freely accessible. Our team also uses these street visits to gather information on the situation on the ground (vulnerable populations, administrative delays, etc.), assembling data and sharing certain facts and figures with partner organisations like the UNHCR in Paris.
Our Legal Clinic
Our legal clinic is composed of volunteers specifically trained in the drafting of asylum seeker’s ‘personal story’, required within their asylum request application. Volunteers also help asylum seekers prepare their interview with the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons, a key step in the asylum process. Once a week, in La Maison des Initiatives Étudiantes' offices, our team welcomes asylum seekers whose interviews are soon due, and walks them through the interview process, going over their personal story, and coaching them so as to best prepare them for this crucial and life-determining step.
Our Family Team
Our family team is composed of volunteers specifically trained in the asylum seeking process as it applies to families. Our team provides support to particularly vulnerable people by monitoring their administrative situation, and accompanying them throughout those different steps in the asylum seeking process. Where necessary, our volunteers also offer temporary housing solutions in order to prevent vulnerable individuals from sleeping outside (be it through private accommodation or paying for overnight hostels).
Our Research Team
This team performs legal and non legal research on the implementing of the right to asylum in France, in order to provide accurate and up to date information to those other actors on the ground assisting asylum seekers. Since November 2016, our team has specifically been working on a project regarding asylum seeker transfers to Bulgaria, under the Dublin regulations (see our infograph): these transfers raise serious human rights concerns given Bulgaria’s recorded mistreatment of asylum seekers. Our final report draws from: existing reports from various NGOs and international organisations working on the asylum system in Bulgaria (which tend to point towards serious flaws); testimonies gathered by Sciences Po Refugee Help from asylum seekers having passed through Bulgaria; and a study of European jurisprudence and national court decisions annulling transfers to Bulgaria out of fear that the concerned person’s fundamental human rights would be violated. Our report’s conclusions were added to a ‘toolbox’ or ‘legal kit’ for lawyers contesting transfers to Bulgaria, whom our volunteers work with. The aim is to consolidate and share all relevant information in order to obtain a country-wide ban on these kinds of transfers.
Composed of over a dozen active members, the asylum aid team dedicated to housing centres currently intervenes in four housing centres in Paris: the Albin Peyron residence, the Boulogne center, the Pré St Gervais center and La Promesse de l'Aube. All interventions are done with the centre’s accord, and within a wider partnership with the organisation running them (e.g. Association Aurore, who runs both CHUs). The aim of these partnerships is to:
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