Being refugees in Istanbul: Interview with lawyer Esin B.

Human rights lawyer Esin B. talks about the living conditions of refugees in Istanbul and newly created immigration regulations in Turkey, which are compatible with international human rights, but bring legal problems.

Esin B., a lawyer who has been working in the fields of human rights and refugee law for about 6 years, worked as a legal advisor to the partners of the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees after graduating from college. Bozovalı investigates complaints both in front of the ECtHR and the Turkish and Greek authorities regarding violence perpetrated by Greek security forces against refugees at the Turkish-Greek border.

In this interview conducted by We Refugees Archive in June 2021, Esin provides information on the status and legal status of refugees in Istanbul.

She criticises above all that many refugees do not register and thus cannot exercise their rights. This makes it difficult for most of them to find housing and forces many of them into irregular employment, where they can easily be exploited. She also talks about the problems she has as a lawyer when accompanying people who are to be deported and to whose files lawyers only have difficult access. Esin also discusses how the temporary protection status leads to refugees only being perceived as temporary guests. This perception, which is promoted by state and municipal migration policies, leads to social exclusion mechanisms.

Interview: Onurcan Çelebi
Camera: Onurcan Çelebi
Postproduction: Minor
Translation from Turkish into English and German: Minor © 2021