Our Code of Conduct

If you’re considering applying to volunteer through Northern Greece Volunteers, this is a general Code of Conduct that we expect all volunteers to adhere to. All projects and teams operating in the region will also have their own expectations and codes of conduct for volunteers and this is not intended to replace these codes.

MISSION STATEMENT

This Code of Conduct is based on behaviour rules agreed on by representatives from the communities that we work with and the Organisation’s volunteer representatives.

Our Associates’ personal interests must never come into conflict with the interests of the Organisation, the primary concern of the Organisation namely being the welfare and wellbeing of refugees. For that reason, we will strive to the best of our abilities to empower refugees, by enabling them to contribute to the improvement of their own and their communities’ lives and conditions, whenever possible and practical.

We recognise the importance of individuals’ feeling of self-worth and confidence, and the immense benefits these provide to morale and psychological well-being, both of which are crucial to surviving the conditions of a refugee camp.

We will listen to refugees’ voices, welcome their views, and always aim to help them fulfil their needs.

DEFINITIONS

Organisation : Help Refugees.

Associates : all directors, officers, employees, volunteers and any other persons affiliated to the Organisation; anyone with access to the warehouse, donations, communication systems and information directly related to the work of the Organisation or personal information concerning the Associates.

Informed consent:  Permission granted in full knowledge of the possible consequences, risks and benefits.

CONFIDENTIALITY

Associates will often come into contact with, or possession of, information and items of a sensitive nature in relation to the lives, identities, and needs of refugees. Such information must be treated with discretion and never made public, as it could add to the vulnerability and instability of the lives of individuals seeking asylum. Misuse of such information can expose them to potentially dangerous situations that may not be evident at the time.

All individuals must be treated with dignity and have the right to privacy. Photography of any individual must be entirely and unambiguously consensual and made with informed consent: refugee camps are not tourist destinations. For safeguarding reasons, no photos of minors in refugee camps should be taken without express parental consent; photos of or identification information regarding minors in refugee camps should not, under any circumstances, be shared publicly. Where express parental consent is not possible to be obtained for any reason, no photographs of the minors in questions should be taken and shared.

Sensitive and private information also relating to the work of the Organisation and other Associates should not be shared irresponsibly i.e. in a public forum, such as social media or a public space. Such information includes confidential staff details, meetings and any other documents regarding private dealings of other Associates.

SAFEGUARDING AND RELATIONSHIPS

Refugee children and vulnerable adults must never be subject to any form of conduct by Associates that can be degrading or that might put them at risk of harm. All refugee children and vulnerable adults that the Organisation and their Associates come into contact with through their work have the right to be treated with dignity and respect and be free of further harm and discrimination. While Associates will seek to develop and maintain trust and cooperation between themselves and refugees, they must recognise the extraordinarily vulnerable position refugees are in and maintain a level of personal integrity.

For safeguarding purposes, Associates will not be permitted to work with refugee children under 18 and any other vulnerable individuals unless they can provide an up-to-date DBS check. No Associate aged over 18 can be alone with any refugee children under 18 or any other vulnerable individuals, unless it is immediately necessary, or impractical to act otherwise. No sexual relationship should exist between any Associate in a position of trust and any young person under the age of 18 while working under the remit of the Organisation, and it is a criminal offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Any pattern of sexual activity between Associates and adult refugees will not be condoned, on the basis of recognising the fundamental vulnerability of all refugees, even adults, in refugee camps and the possibility of exploitative behaviour. We recognise that Associates are in a position of trust, which can create an imbalance of power and can lead to refugees being put at risk of further harm. This applies even when a refugee is a consenting party, as it is impossible to avoid the context of a disproportionate power balance.

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

Associates must demonstrate and promote responsible conduct appropriate to the activities they are involved in while working under the remit of the Organisation. They must understand and respect the high standards of responsible conduct, accountability, and transparency required in order to allow the humanitarian work of the Organisation and their Associates to benefit the refugees.

PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS

Associates will seek to adopt the highest level of professional standards in their work with the Organisation, based on principles such as personal responsibility, accountability, and honesty. Efforts to directly undermine, subvert, or intentionally negatively affect the humanitarian work of the Organisation and their other Associates for personal gain or to the detriment of refugees will not be condoned. Similarly, public remarks intentionally meant to bring into disrepute the humanitarian efforts of the Organisation and their Associates will also not be condoned. Remarks made on social media should not be made to appearing to be on behalf of the Organisation, unless with the express approval of the Organisation.

Buying or selling alcohol or illegal substances by Associates in camps will not be tolerated, nor will public consumption while on-site, due to the increasing tensions created in the camps by such behaviour, but especially due to the need to protect refugee children from further possible harm and trauma.

All volunteers must take into consideration cultural sensibilities and differences on site and must therefore dress and act appropriately, so as not to cause any distress or discord. Both men and women are required to wear clothing of at least knee length and which covers shoulders and chest. You are expected to respect the personal space of all residents. Whilst you may be accustomed to close and intimate contact between friends and acquaintances back home, it is not necessarily appropriate and can cause great distress to assume your cultural norms with residents in the camps. It is important to take the time to observe the cultural and religious practices of the people you are working with, taking particular care when mixing with the opposite gender as certain activities may be misconstrued or cause offence to those you are there to aid. Please seek advice from your supervisors on this issue. It is also important to remember that those we work with are likely to have had traumatic experiences and may still experience repercussions from these. Our actions and questions can result in lasting damage when not undertaken with caution.

Help Refugees works closely alongside the Greek ministry, military and police. The camps are overseen by these bodies and they take care of the management and security of the sites. All Associates must maintain good working relationships with the aforementioned parties, and respect their commands.

WELFARE AND SAFE WORKING PRACTICE

Associates must make sure to take all reasonable steps to ensure their own safety and the safety of other Associates and refugees. We value the well-being and safety of all Associates who work with us, and consider it to be of crucial importance to the sustainability of the work of the Organisation. For that reason, we will endeavour to support the welfare of all Associates to the best of our knowledge and ability, and always make it a priority.