14:03 GMT +323 September 2017
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    Young migrants or refugees walk with a stroller on December 29, 2015 in a camp in Grande-Synthe.

    ‘They Are Only Human’: Brazilian Lawyer Spends 26 Days in Refugee Camps

    © AFP 2017/ Philippe Huguen
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    Human rights lawyer Edgard Raoul left his job and comfortable living in Sao Paulo to spend 26 days living among refugees pouring into Europe from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    During those 26 memorable days Edgard Raoul lived with migrants stuck in refugee camps in Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Germany trying to see for himself how “the rich and powerful countries are dealing with the crisis and what international organizations are doing to resolve it.”

    He shared his experience and impressions in an exclusive interview with Radio Sputnik.

    “Along with other volunteers I was on Lesbos Island waiting for the arrival of ships with refugees… On one of them I saw a man who was holding his unconscious daughter in his arms, weeping and crying. I walked up to him and, trying to help, took the girl in my arms immediately realizing the terrible injustice of this whole crisis. The girl was unconscious, pale and so cold… She finally came to and after receiving first aid, managed to move on,” Edgard recalled.

    He said that learning that he was from Brazil the refugees immediately became suspicious. They just couldn’t understand how a Brazilian could exist in those dreadful conditions they lived in.

    “But with the initial tensions gone, we were finally able to find a common language and move on together,” Edgard noted.

    During the long journey to Germany the Brazilian lawyer often acted as a mediator in the conflicts that regularly flared up between the refugees and police.

    “As we moved on, I often had to act as a go-between trying to defuse tensions between the authorities and the refugees…

    Each time the authorities started acting aggressively towards the migrants I tried to explain to them that the refugees were not to blame for what was going on, that they had found themselves in a very bad fix and that we could resolve some of the problems that arose between them,” Edgard continued.

    “As a mediator, I was trying to make the authorities respect the refugees. To the migrants I said that the police and soldiers were simply fulfilling their orders and that they felt no personal animosity towards them,” Edgard Raoul said.

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