Our Junior Legal Officer attended an advanced course on strengthening international protection

In October three of our lawyers attended an advanced course on strengthening international protection. Neil (Director), Alexis (Legal Officer) and Mireille (Junior Legal Officer) spent 3 days in Marseille participating in engaging discussions and workshops, whilst also networking with our friends and colleagues in other Member States.

Why do we attend these events? What are the benefits to our work, and to our beneficiaries?

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Alternatives to detention discussed in legal training

Between 1 and 2 October, aditus foundation’s staff participated to the European Legal Network on Asylum (ELENA) Advanced Course 2021: ‘Strengthening International Protection in Europe and Thinking Ahead’ training organised in Marseille by the European Council on Refugee and Exiles (ECRE).

The training was attended by legal practitioner and members of the ELENA network, which brings together a wide range of actors in the field of migration and asylum. It provided valuable input in key topics surrounding the current legal challenges in migration and asylum faced by legal practitioners all around Europe. Our interest was to focus on alternatives to detention as a key point for legal training.

On aditus’ side, the event was attended by Director Neil Falzon, Legal Officer Alexis Galand and Junior Legal Officer Mireille Boffa.

Specific workshops aimed at tailoring the comprehension of these key topics were held throughout the two days event. The workshops on alternatives to detention was of particular importance to aditus’ lawyers as they are confronted daily with the legal challenges surrounding detention. 

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How are coronavirus measures affecting refugees?

Various European Member States have introduced emergency asylum measures in response to the Covid-19 situation. Many of these affect services offered to asylum-seekers and at times raise concerns as to their compatibility with legal obligations in relation to asylum-seekers’ rights to information, legal aid and effective remedy.

Most of the information presented here was shared within the European Legal Network on Asylum (ELENA), a network coordinated by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles. Our Director is the Malta ELENA Coordinator. Information is relevant as at time of writing (30 March 2020).

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ERASMUS+ supports aditus’ capacity building

In 2015, the European Legal Network on Asylum (ELENA) celebrated its 30th anniversary by organising an advanced training in Bologna on “Legal avenues for strengthening international protection in Europe”. Thanks to ERASMUS+ funds, we had the opportunity to attend this high level course in Bologna. Claire (Legal Office) participated, together with Neil (Director).

ELENA is a forum of legal practitioners aiming to promote the highest human rights standards for the treatment of refugees, asylum seekers and other persons in need of international protection in their daily individual counselling and advocacy work. The network now counts over 500 lawyers and legal counsellors from all over Europe. Aditus has been an active member of this platform for years.

The aim of this course was to provide tools for lawyers and NGOs for advancing the rights of refugees. Firstly, the training focused on effective remedies for asylum cases: how to bring efficiently asylum cases to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) but also to lesser used avenues such as United Nations and Council of Europe mechanisms.

Secondly, the course covered the implementation of asylum decisions: ECtHR and CJEU judgments, EU infringements procedures initiated by the European Commission and the monitoring of national asylum systems.

Finally, the course examined legal remedies in Dublin Regulation cases, family reunification and detention cases.

Trainers for this course included professionals from the CJEU or ECtHR, directors of human rights centres, UNHCR representatives but also reputable asylum lawyers such as Nuala Mole.

This course presented a unique opportunity to reinforce aditus in its strategic litigation capacity but also to continue building strong relations and network with legal practitioners specialised in asylum law.

Building on this course, aditus organised in February 2016 a workshop with all Maltese NGOs active within the asylum field. The aim of the workshop was to introduce the new reception system for asylum seekers in Malta and to discuss together common strategic goals and Action Plan for the coming months.

aditus has been monitoring the transposition of the EU Reception Directive during the full legislative process and delivered a comprehensive presentation on the new system. While we welcome the end of systematic and automatic detention for every migrant entering Malta irregularly, some serious concerns remain (e.g. availability of legal challenges, lack of alternatives to detention, etc.).