Pro-migrant advocacy NGO Advocates Abroad has shut down their social media accounts after executive director Ariel Ricker was caught on tape by Canadian conservative activist filmmaker Lauren Southern admitting her group coaches migrants to lie to claim asylum.
The undercover footage published by Southern was captured in Greece at the Moria migrant camp on the island of Lesbos as part of Southern’s new documentary Borderless which she claims will delve into hotspots associated with the European migrant crisis.
During the secretly recorded footage, Ms Ricker admits that her group help migrants put on an “act” to get a better chance at asylum saying, “[The European Asylum Support Office] says, ‘This is a refugee in trauma, they have these characteristics,’ so we coach people how to have these characteristics.”
“We teach them … how to keep their private trauma private because all this acting is a shield. I tell them this is acting, all of this is acting, it’s all acting as though this is theatre. So for them to get through they must act their part in the theatre, and that is the refugee in trauma because these EASO officers are so fucking stupid, all they know is written on the paper,” Ricker added.
Following the release of the footage, Advocates Abroad admitted that the footage was of Ricker but claimed it to be heavily edited. Soon after the admission, the NGO deleted both their Twitter and Facebook pages.
The European Asylum Support Office later commented on the footage to Buzzfeed saying, “We strongly reject and regret such crude statements on our personnel working tirelessly to support the Greek authorities,” in reaction to its officers being labelled “fucking stupid” by the activist.
Advocates Abroad have responded confirming the voice in the recording is that of Executive Director Ariel Ricker and that it was indeed Ariel making those comments. https://t.co/TiG1LCGgO8
— Lauren Southern (@Lauren_Southern) November 12, 2018
Advocates Abroad has been operating in Greece since 2016 and claims to have advised as many as 15,000 asylum seekers claiming to provide “reliable, timely, and accurate legal aid,” according to the group’s official website which remains online.
The recording is just the latest scandal revolving around a pro-migrant NGO operating in Greece.
Last year, members of the U.S.-based Mercy Corps NGO, which receives funding from left-wing billionaire George Soros, were placed under investigation by Greek authorities after allegations that activists had been engaged in sexual abuse of migrants in Greek asylum centres.
Earlier this year, another NGO ran into trouble with Greek law enforcement, being accused of assisting illegal migration into Greece.
Up to 30 members of the Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) NGO have been accused by Greek police of being a criminal network aiding people smuggling into the country.
In February, two members of the organisation were arrested for “espionage and violation of state secrets” after using official rescue frequencies and were caught driving a vehicle with forged military licence plates. Three more activists were arrested in August in connection with people trafficking claims.