From the Calais Jungle to the survivors of the Mediterranean

By Camille FratiLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

Back from a mission in Greece and the Mediterranean Sea, lawyer Nora Fellens talks once again about the hell endured by exiled people in search of a better life - with no guarantee of success.

We met Nora Fellens at the end of December 2020, when she was taking a break for a few weeks in the middle of her mission with the Cabane Juridique in Calais (A lawyer in the Jungle of Calais). There, she accompanied migrants who were surviving while waiting to cross the Channel at their own risk to reach the British Eldorado – in theory at least. She was more specifically concerned with people who were victims of police violence during their precarious stay.

We meet her again one year later, with a slightly tired look in her eyes but the same determination. The year 2021 has not been easy for the woman who was wondering about her future, torn between her desire to help migrants and the certainty that she could not live on that alone. She was aiming for a mission in Thessaloniki, the gateway to the European Union for exiles from the Middle East and Asia. In the end, she carried out two missions in the year, in very different contexts.

"In January 2020, I spent another month or so in Calais before returning to Luxembourg", she explains. "I went back a few weekends, mainly to follow up on a complaint filed by a person who was a victim of police violence." For three months, Nora Fellens returned to the law firm of Wagener & Erpelding, where she had done her judicial internship, "to practice my profession" and replenish her savings after several months of unpaid voluntary work. "Obviously it wasn't very easy at first", she recalls. "In the first two or three weeks it took a lot of strength to concentrate 1,000 percent – but I always wanted to do my best because I owed it to Claudine and Yves (the partners) and the clients. Just because I've been through what I've been through, seen what I've seen, doesn't mean I can neglect my work."

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