GCR’s Refugee Reception and Interpreters Unit handles the first contact with our beneficiaries since it is consisted of a group of multilingual receptionists, interpreters and political scientists. The interpreters, by conveying the social-historical-cultural features that characterize each case, contribute significantly to the proper function of the Service while they also participate in visits to detention centres, courts, hospitals, etc. in order to facilitate GCR beneficiaries’ access to services and goods. The interpreters provide their services, apart from Athens and Thessaloniki, in Komotini and Orestiada.
Being the first stop of people seeking GCR’s help, the Refugee Reception and Interpreters Unit is responsible for their immediate support and the identification of potential problems they might deal with during the asylum procedure, while they contribute to filling the gap that is created by the deficiencies in State’s reception infrastructure. Furthermore, the beneficiaries receive initial information regarding their rights and, at the same time, the Service carries out the necessary actions, like, among others, drafting the asylum request, intervening to gain access to asylum process, appealing against the first rejection decision, etc.
More specifically, the responsibilities of the Unit include the following:
- Identification of the profile of the refugee (screening) and coverage of the immediate needs of asylum seekers, within the Organization’s capacities, in order to effectively provide international protection
- Ensuring communication channels between asylum seekers / refugees and other Organization’s Departments, so as to provide the required and necessary legal and social assistance
- Information of asylum seekers and refugees about their rights and their obligations
- Through daily and immediate support of newcomers, it contributes to their effective access to services and goods
- Strengthening of the way they organize themselves (self-reception) –due to lack of official infrastructures- in order to ingrate smoothly and easily to the host country’s society
Regarding beneficiaries’ social issues, their needs and requests are mostly about housing and medical care, as well as assisting to particular groups like unaccompanied minors, victims of trafficking, torture and racist violence and people with psychological problems that were supported by other GCR services.
The Unit cooperates with external interpreters in order to cover the needs in other languages as well as in emergency situations. The communication between staff and beneficiaries is ensured on a permanent basis for the languages Dari, Farsi, French, Arabic, Pashto, Russian, Turkish while in order to cover emergencies temporary interpreters are called for the languages Amharic, Urdu, Pular, Wolof, Baghlan, Malinka and Kurds.
Finally, students from several universities undertake an internship in this Unit. A significant number of students from several Greek Universities but also from Universities abroad undertake an internship in the Refugee Reception and Interpreters Unit in order to have a first contact with the field of asylum and to familiarize themselves with the needs of GCR’s beneficiary population. Moreover, the Unit is also supported by the valuable contribution of volunteers.