Dear members of Bar associations,
Dear lawyers and legal professionals,

As head of the “Justice and Human Rights Training” Division of the Council of Europe (CoE) I am writing to share with you one of the initiatives taken by the CoE to address the inevitable and tragic consequences of the war provoked by the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine in February 2022.

To assist lawyers and all legal professionals dealing with the huge increase of war refugees, mostly women, girls and boys, the Council of Europe took immediate steps, thanks to the flexibility of its Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) Programme. As European Bar associations are members of the HELP Network and there is a sound basis of HELP tutors (many also experts on asylum/migration), HELP could rapidly respond via tailored legal support – that can evolve as we go through all stages of conflict, peace-building and post-conflict.

Thus, as  of 1st March 2022, virtual Asylum/Migration HELP e-Desks were set up, managed by HELP tutors and legal experts to support lawyers assisting refugees from Ukraine in four EU neighbouring countries (RomaniaSlovakiaHungary and Poland; as well as for Moldova. 

These HELP e-Desks are being gradually fed with resources and information as it becomes available in each country, particularly after the reactivation of the EU Directive on Temporary Protection. The initiative is coordinated with the Migration Committee of the Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe (CCBE), from whom we got your contact details so that you can also register in these national eDesks. National HELP eDesks have also been set up for BulgariaCyprusFranceGermanyGreece and Spain and several others are in preparation (for Belgium, Czechia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia).

In parallel, a similar Asylum/Migration National HELP e-Desk is being developed for Ukraine for those still in the country who need legal information on asylum/migration/displacement issues. By end 2022, there were over 4600 Ukrainians registered in the HELP e-learning platform (which is, for your information, accessible to all, free of charge and includes more than 40 courses on Human Rights preeminent topics). 

The Asylum/Migration HELP e-Desks facilitate access of legal professionals to information and training about effective handling of cases at national level related to refugees and displaced persons, with an immediate focus on refugees from Ukraine.

The National HELP e-Desks contain:

  • useful links and practical tips assisting legal professionals dealing with the refugees and displaced persons;
  • legal resources, national legal framework and context; the e-Desks are being updated with developments as they emerge at national and European level, especially related to procedures and practices on the EU Temporary Protection Directive (for EU MS) and asylum and resettlement procedures;
  • online self-paced training based on HELP courses related to the context (Asylum and Human RightsRefugee and Migrant ChildrenInternal DisplacementCombating Trafficking in Human Beings), based on which legal professionals can undergo fast and high-quality training and can benefit from electronically generated Statements of Accomplishment upon successful completion;
  • some eDesks have a forum for exchange, moderated by national experts.

If you are interested in joining this initiative, you are more than welcome to enroll in your HELP national eDesks. If you want more information, please contact the person/tutor managing the national eDesk and/or the HELP Info Point in your country (this is the main contact point for HELP in your national Bar Council – check here to get the list of names and contact your national Bar should you need it). If you still want further information from our side, you can contact from the CoE HELP team by replying to this email and cc He/we will then come back to you personally to give you information on, f.i. how to join the online platform and will add you on the HELP national eDesks in case you could not do it by yourself.

We would also like you to disseminate this information among your peers and networks.

With kind regards,

Eva Pastrana

Head of Justice and Human Rights Training Division

Department for the implementation of Human Rights, Justice and Legal Co-operation Standards

Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law (DGI)

Council of Europe – Conseil de l’Europe

Tel.: +33 (0)3 90 21 54 35 –

Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP)

Take a free HELP course at

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