Improving the access of asylum seekers to legal remedies and monitoring the reception conditions in the Republic of Estonia

In cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Estonian Human Rights Centre (EHRC) will undertake a project on provision of free legal aid and monitoring reception conditions in 2017.

During the project period, i.e. from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017, the legal experts of the EHRC will provide free legal aid to asylum-seekers. This activity will include: i) provision of free legal counselling, (ii) representation of asylum-seekers at their asylum interviews in the Police and Border Guard Board (PBGB) and (iii) preparation of written replies on the provisional decisions of the PBGB.

Also, in the course of the Project the EHRC will strive to identify cases which could be used as a basis for initiation of strategic litigations aiming to improve the quality of the refugee status determination in Estonia. Finally, the EHRC lawyers will undertake quarterly monitoring visits to the accommodation centres for asylum-seekers in Vao and Vägeva as well as the PBGB detention centre in Harku. During these visits the EHRC will collect information which will be used, inter alia, for preparation of the legal analysis assessing the access of asylum-seekers to the state provided legal aid.