HIAS in Greece

Founded: 2016
Staff Size: 12
Director: Vassilis Kerasiotis 
Office Locations: Athens, Lesvos


From 2015 to 2018 more than a million refugees and migrants arrived on the Greek islands. While many made their way to other European countries, there are approximately 50,000 asylum seekers and refugees still living in Greece. Currently, some 21,000 refugees reside in Lesvos, most of them in terrible conditions in the Moria camp.


HIAS assists asylum seekers at all stages of the asylum process. Since 2016, HIAS has provided individualized legal assistance to more than 400 cases on the island of Lesvos, with the majority of clients coming from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, but also from Uganda, DRC, and other African countries. Clients are considered on a case-by-case basis and HIAS prioritizes vulnerable individuals who are in greatest need of legal representation.


HIAS is a leading legal service provider on the island of Lesvos and opened an office in Athens to follow up on cases, pursue strategic litigation, and engage in advocacy on behalf of refugees. With little legal help available for refugees and asylum seekers across Greece, HIAS plays a critical role by helping refugees secure legal status, the first step toward regaining control and stability in their lives. Legal status helps refugees unlock access to a wide range of opportunities and rights, helping them to move toward meaningful social and economic integration.
Legal Services
HIAS provides free legal assistance throughout the asylum procedure, family reunification processes, and for asylum seekers in administrative detention. HIAS’ legal services also include undertaking cases to combat hate crime, as well as cases to ensure refugees access to legal, social, and economic rights in Greece. HIAS also has successfully undertaken cases ensuring access to civil marriage for asylum seekers and to the right of gender reassignment for a transgender refugee, both of them precedent-setting cases. 
In January 2018, HIAS and Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), the U.S. arm of the humanitarian assistance and advocacy organization, announced a joint initiative to provide improved legal services to refugees in Greece in 2018. The partnership, called the Greece Refugee Rights Initiative, was developed in response to the growing humanitarian and legal challenges for refugees.

HIAS’s services are free. If someone tries to charge you for services claiming they represent HIAS, please report it at our confidential email address: ethics@hias.org. HIAS has a zero-tolerance policy on fraud and corruption. 

For any other inquiries please email us at info@hias.org.