A mobile app allowing asylum seekers to quickly find information on the EU Relocation Programme, their rights and obligations and more was launched by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).
The European Asylum Support Office officially presented its first mobile app aimed to allow asylum seekers to quickly find information in relation to the EU Relocation Programme, including their rights and obligations when applying, contact points and more.
The app is the latest initiative of an integrated information and communication campaign and it is meant to promote relocation as the only safe and legal way from Greece and Italy to other EU Member States.
Geared for Smartphones and tablets, the EU Relocation Programme app can be downloaded from the AppStore and Google Play and it is available in English and other non-EU languages such as Arabic, Sorani, Kumjani and Tigrinya.
Apart from providing information, another key objective of the new mobile app is to build trust in the relocation programme, as well as to discourage asylum seekers from travelling in illegal ways from Greece or Italy to other EU Member States.
For more information on ICT, read NEU Issue 38, June 2016.
What is the EU Relocation Programme and how EASO kicks in?
The EU Relocation Programme was the result of two Council Decisions in September 2015, in which Member States committed to relocate 160,000 people mainly from Italy and Greece by September 2017.
EASO, the European Asylum Support Office created to work towards a Common European Asylum System, supports the national asylum services of both countries by contributing to the Relocation process from Italy and Greece with experts deployed in both countries.
In February 2016, EASO came up with a comprehensive communication plan to promote and support the relocation mechanism. Given that a majority of refugees use Smartphones, the mobile app seemed the most suitable way to provide information and refer to more comprehensive information on the EASO website and social media.
“We noticed that many are equipped with Smartphones in the hotspots,” said Jose Carreira, EASO’s Executive Director, “Smartphones have revolutionised the way everyone works and EASO here shows that it has adopted modern communication tools which are most suited for our specific audience.”
Read “What aid and support can ICT provide to refugees?” to get an insight into the ways ICT can give a hand to refugees.
The EU Relocation Programme app in concrete
With the app, refugees on route are enabled to easily search for contacts, hotlines and emergency numbers of EASO. Available to download free of charge by IoS and Android Smartphones users, the app provides clear, concise and up-to-date information about the relocation scheme, the procedure, and the role of EASO in the relocation process.
Am I eligible for relocation? Which countries can I get relocated to? Why am I getting fingerprinted? These questions and other practical issues related to relocation are included in the FAQ section of the app, which is characterised by a user-friendly interface.
The App also includes an interactive map with GPS localisation, allowing asylum seekers with a Smartphones to easily find the closest hotspots, both in Italy and Greece, where they can get registered for international protection. Otherwise, they can also get in touch with EASO experts to receive further assistance.
Last but not least, the app will allow users to watch videos on stories of successful relocation told from people who have lived through it. After all, EASO hopes that, by easing information sharing, it will be possible to prevent confusion, unrealistic expectations, and frustration amongst refugees about unavailability of information.