THE EUROPEAN BORDER CRISIS
Our Greek NGO Investigation:
During our undercover investigation into NGOs working in the Greek Islands we have come into possession of recordings of Ariel Ricker, Executive Director of Advocates Abroad admitting to unethical and illegal practices. Advocates Abroad is a large scale NGO providing legal aid to refugees and migrants seeking asylum in Europe.
Their 380 advocates are primarily involved in preparing refugees and migrants for their asylum interviews. The recorded admissions are particularly concerning given the organization’s links to a fundraising campaign between University of Cambridge students and 12 British MPs which raised in excess of $60,000 US for the organization.
In the admissions caught on tape, Ms. Ricker reveals that her organization has spent time compiling and studying transcripts of asylum interviews, and using them to generate stock answers to key interview questions for asylum seekers to use. Perhaps most worrying is Ariel’s admission that Advocates Abroad teaches applicants to pretend to cry, break down or to ask for a break in order to appear more sympathetic. The recordings further reveal that this is done to display specific characteristics asylum officers are trained to look out for and takes place during role-play sessions where advocates will dress applicants, teach them the stock answers and, perhaps most alarmingly, how to show the interviewers that they pray in a way consistent with their story, for example that of a Christian fleeing persecution.
In an official statement, UNHCR said it was ‘alarmed by these reports’ while the Sturm College of Law, a University of Denver school listed as a partner on the Advocates Abroad website, responded to say it was ‘shocked and repulsed’ by the comments made by Ms. Ricker and that the university has no official affiliation with the organization and its students will not continue to work with Advocates Abroad.
A FIRST LOOK AT BORDERLESS
Take an exclusive sneak peak at Borderless, a project brought to life by your support…
An interview with a human trafficker, a perilous journey along Turkey’s beaches with a group of refugees, camping out with migrants in Paris to understand the true nature of the European border crisis, and even a stint in the forests on Europe’s Bulgarian border, Lauren and crew have travelled the breadth of the European border to bring you the first stage of the Borderless project.
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Borderless has been an expensive project. So far equipment hire, local fixers and security costs have reached the tens of thousands – but because of this we have been able to capture incredible footage, including one of the first interviews with a human trafficker in Morocco and undercover recordings of NGOs admitting to illegal activity in Greece.
If you would like to help us continue to capture groundbreaking content and deliver this documentary project, there are several ways you can donate:
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