LEGIS was founded in 2009 in Skopje, Macedonia. Originally, it was set up as an open voice of the community, sharing the needs and necessities, presenting the will and requirements of the people in an organized manner, in order to promote human rights and humane values by assisting vulnerable population and people in need and increase the social awareness.
Since 2009 LEGIS has been working on national and international level, mostly campaigning, raising and delivering aid to various regions such as Bosnia and Hercegovina (floods), Gaza, Somalia, Myanmar, Syria, Greece and on national level in Macedonia (floods and refugee crisis). Till 2015, the organization was working only on volunteer basis, with few activities during each year.
In 2014 LEGIS was the first NGO to start organizing emergency response to the influx of the mixed migration flow of refugees and migrants from Middle East and Africa, providing direct humanitarian aid and assistance, medical and legal assistance, while raising awareness and advocating for legislative changes on relevant legislation in Macedonia.
In 2015 our main activities were coming from grass-roots level, since the local response on different points in Macedonia was organized and implemented by local volunteers and citizens that were supported by LEGIS in terms of guidance, expertize and fundraising. Provision of humanitarian aid on various points in Macedonia trough local volunteers and mobile teams, capacity building of local volunteers, support and cross-border referrals of extremely vulnerable individuals, advocacy for amendment of the Asylum Law in Macedonia (that passed on 29.07.2015) and monitoring of human rights abuses by authorities (in cooperation with HRW and the Ombudsman) were our biggest activities in 2015.
In 2016 the organization grew and our work diversified, and beside the already mentioned activities that we maintained, we started psychosocial support and stress-relief activities to the stranded refugees and migrants in Macedonia in the two borderline transit centers in the country, TC Tabanovce and TC Vinojug, Gevgelija, hygiene promotion campaign and activities with special focus on children, sports and recreational activities, social inclusion activities for women and girls, activities with registered asylum seekers, as well as infrastructural renovations to the Detention Center “Gazi Baba” in Skopje. In cooperation with various NGOs from the Balkan region and Europe, LEGIS made a research on the quality of volunteer work in emergencies, out of which detailed report and recommendations will be published in 2017.
In June2016, together with the UNHCR and MYLA, LEGIS submitted suggestion for amendment of the Macedonian Asylum Law, which since April 2016 is very restrictive-does not allow access to asylum procedures to refugees entering from EU, NATO and EFTA countries, which are considered 3rd safe countries by this law. The suggestions for amendment have not yet been responded to.
In August 2016, in cooperation with the UNHCR and Red Cross, LEGIS started an organized response in the irregular migration channels in the Lipkovo area, with provision of basic humanitarian aid and assistance, protection and referrals to the refugees and migrants still in transit towards Europe. Since August 2016, for the first time, official daily reports are coming out from this well-known smuggling and trafficking channel.
In November 2016, LEGIS became official partner to the Ombudsman to jointly work on improving the National Preventive Mechanism against torture and provide more effective protection to the rights of detained refugees and migrants.
In 2016 LEGIS teams were active in the first response to the flood affected areas with clearing out debris and delivery of humanitarian aid to the affected population.
Overall, LEGIS is providing assistance based on the needs of our target population, with respect of human rights, our principles and the principles of humanitarian work and the legislation of Macedonia. .