latest the blog Asylos' response to COVID-19 Asylos’ Director Sophie explains how the current global health crisis amplifies refugee hardship and how the 120 members of Asylos have built a community of support from their living rooms. As COVID-19 sweeps across the globe, we have all seen our lives transformed in ways we would have never thought possible. Many of us are experiencing for the first time what it is like to have movement restricted, to feel profound uncertainty about our economic situation and future prospects, to fear for our own health and the health of our loved ones. These, it hardly needs to be said, are experiences that refugees encounter every day, not as a result of a pandemic, but because of routine structural and racial discrimination. To experience a glimpse of this hardship is an opportunity, albeit a terrible one, to confront our privilege and to reaffirm our solidarity with the world’s most vulnerable. In many ways, this pandemic unveils and exacerbates existing inequalities. There is general awareness that the elderly and those of poor health are particularly susceptible to the virus, but the global health crisis and its knock-on effects also disproportionally affect those who are on the move, undocumented, without accommodation, with little or no job security, with few economic means and little access to basic sanitation and hygiene. Refugees, who regularly experience these circumstances, are among those who are hardest hit. With the disappearance of informal support networks, refugees are cut off from essential services Non-governmental organisations including Asylos have been ringing the alarm bells regarding the risk to displaced people living in refugee camps and other informal arrangements, in some cases stuck in limbo as borders close. Overcrowding, extremely poor hygiene and sanitation, and insufficient access to medical treatment make these places hotbeds for the spread of the virus and could result in the mass fatalities of the 2.6 million people currently residing in refugee camps. What’s more, asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants often rely on informal networks for essential services such as healthcare, social care, and support with legal matters. These services have virtually disappeared as a result of the crisis as civil society organisations providing assistance have been forced to cease operations or experience severe capacity shortages as a result of dwindling numbers of volunteers. This means that these people are cut off from their support networks, unable in many cases to access essential services, including obtaining legal recognition of their refugee status. Legal status is a prerequisite to fulfilling fundamental needs. Recognition as a refugee ensures access to proper healthcare, financial support, employment and housing. Addressing the legal status may not at first seem an urgency in the face of existential economic and health threats. Yet, it is a prerequisite to fulfilling fundamental needs. Legal recognition as a refugee ensures access to proper healthcare, financial support, employment and housing. It provides planning security and reduces distress. In short, it helps address many of the circumstances that amplify vulnerability. However, obtaining refugee status has become difficult for some and impossible for others as status determination procedures are being executed remotely or put on hold as a result of the crisis. As the world becomes increasingly aware of the value of community, what better time to revive the power of the collective to support the most vulnerable than now? As a remote volunteer network, we at Asylos are incredibly fortunate to be able to continue our work without being markedly affected by the current crisis. From almost 10 years of existence, we know that organising for justice can be effective even without direct physical interaction. Our 120 volunteers, trustees, consultants and members of staff continue to be working from the safety of our homes to help asylum-seekers access essential research for their refugee status determination. To those whose asylum applications are ongoing in the crisis, we would like to reaffirm our solidarity and pass the message that we are here to support. As the world becomes increasingly aware of the value of community, what better time to revive the power of the collective to support the most vulnerable than now?Asylos is up and running and ready to produce research for your cases. Our bespoke country-of-origin research services are free of charge and can be accessed here.