Refugees and asylum seekers across Europe were given an extra boost of hope last night when Green Euro MP, Jean Lambert, launched a dynamic new organisation representing the interests of refugees across Europe, the European Refugee Advocacy Organisation (ERAD).
Made up of a network of asylum seekers and refugee led associations and initiatives, ERAD's mission is to encourage and empower refugees and asylum seekers to engage more directly in the defense of their own rights and interests.
Jean Lambert, who contiunues to campaign for the rights of asylum seekers and has been awarded for her work on Justice and Human Rights, has endorsed the organisation.
The launch was held in the European Parliament and those present included representatives from the European Commission and MP's on the Council of Europe.
Speaking after the launch London's Green MEP said; "ERAD will be a focal point and a forum for discussion, information exchange and advocacy directly composed of asylum seekers and refugees based in Europe.
"Asylum seekers and refugees can be particularly vulnerable when they have been forced to leave their homeland as well as their family and friends. Sadly their opinions and wishes on the details of their new future are regularly ignored.
"ERAD has an important and distinctive role to play in ensuring that the voices of asylum seekers and refugees are directly represented and heard in the most effective way at European level. There is, in my view, a real need for those perspectives to be represented and heard and ERAD will meet this important need."
For more information please contact:
Morwenna Holland, Media Officer
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Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.
For more information on ERAD visit www.erad-network.org