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efms Migration Report

April 2006

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Council of Europe warns of resurgence of nazi ideology

In an unanimously adopted resolution, the Council of Europe has criticised that in many European countries right-wing extremism would again meet with sympathy and that its rejection would generally be declining. The members of the Assembly of the Council of Europe referred to the desecration of graves and memorials of members of the resistance and the open use of nazi symbols. Nazi who had been sentenced as war criminals would be rehabilitated and their acts would be justified or even glorified. Moreover, there would be a growing support in Europe for political parties with a xenophobic agenda. Against this background, the European governments should take coordinated measures to fight xenophobia, intolerance and racist-based acts of hatred. The Council of Europe announced to hold a conference on this issue. 12.04.06 // NZZ 16.04.06

Incidents at Berlin primary school trigger off a debate on basic principles of integration

In a letter addressed to their state regulators, the staff of teachers at the Rütli primary school in the Berlin district of Neukölln has asked for help from state authorities and called for a reorganisation of their school. In explanation for their call, the teachers argue that "the overall proportion of the pupils of non-German origin amounts to 83.2 per cent. (...) at our school, we do not have any teacher with a non-German cultural background. We must recognise that the atmosphere in some classes is currently characterised by aggressiveness, disrespect, and ignorance towards us as adults. (...) as a result, there are colleagues who are on the verge of their abilities ...". Several weeks later (at the end of March), this call for help was published by the local press and triggered off a political debate on integration. Conflicts and acts of violence were also reported of other schools such as the Theodor-Plievier-Oberschule in the Berlin district of Wedding. As a result, the education senator of Berlin, Klaus Böger (SPD), ordered to put the Rütli school under police supervision from 31 March until 3 April 2006 and promised to staff with additional teachers and social workers 20 schools in a first step and from 1 January 2007 all 55 primary schools. On the occasion of a question time held in the German parliament on 5 April 2006, the Union parties called for a punishment of pupils and their families who are not willing to integrate in order to reduce acts of violence and language deficits at primary schools. Following proposals of the Bavarian prime minister, Edmund Stoiber (CSU) and of the interior minister of the federal state of Brandenburg, Jörg Schönbohm (CDU), the Union parties said that to this end measures such as payment of fines, a 30 per cent cut of the social welfare payments or a denial of an extension of residence permits could be taken, if persons do not attend compulsory integration courses or if parents do not enrol their children at the pre-school German language test, which is compulsory in some federal states. Moreover, Mr Stoiber made the proposal to deport violent pupils. The chairman of FDP in the federal parliament, Wolfgang Gerhard, said that virtues such as commitment to performance, discipline and dedication would form part of a growing up in a free society. The Greens and PDS commented the claims of Union parties and FDP with derision and sharp criticism. The chairwoman of the Greens in the federal parliament, Renate Künast, criticised that the CDU had blocked for years a better assistance of pupils offered at all-day schools and added that now these parties wanted to encounter deficits by exclusion. "These are our children", said Künast. "We are talking about a German problem, and this problem cannot be solved by means of deportations." Meanwhile, the Turkish community in Germany is planning an education offensive to be launched on the occasion of an education congress to be held in Berlin from 22 to 23 April. The chairman, Kenan Kolat, said: "We should be gladly willing to take on tasks." In this context he proposes a trilateral treaty to be entered into by the federal government, the federal states and migrant organisations to fix "duties and tasks". Umbrella organisation could, for instance, be charged with the initial counselling of migrants or offer German language and qualification courses.
Die Welt 31.03.06 // Die Welt (online) 31.03.06 // FR 03.04.06 // BZ 03.04.06 // NZZ 03.04.06 // Der Tagesspiegel (online) 04.04.06 // FAZ 04.04.06 // BZ 04.04.06 // Die Welt 06.04.06 // SZ 06.04.06 // Das Parlament 10.04.06 // Der Tagesspiegel (online) 11.04.06

In response to school problems Federal Chancellery plans to hold national integration summit

Even before the start of the parliamentary summer recess, the Federal Chancellery plans to hold a summit on integration. Five working groups have been charge with preparing proposals for the areas of language teaching, occupational training and labour market, women"s rights, nationality law and civic society. On the occasion of the subsequent summit, the proposals will be discussed by experts of the federal government, the federal states and communities, as well as representatives of economy, trade unions, charitable organisations, churches and migrant organisations. Even though the SPD welcomes this proposal, it has also expressed scepticism. Franz Müntefering (SPD) warned of the idea that "the problem could be solved by a kind of an ingenious master plan on federal level". The secretary general of the SPD, Hubertus Heil, emphasised that the SPD wanted to develop strategies to fight poverty and its consequences that are aimed at both non-German and German youths. The lack of integration would be part of a "new social issue".
FR 07.04.06 // FR 08.04.06 // Die Welt 10.04.06 // FAZ 11.04.06 // FTD 11.04.06 // Die Zeit 12.04.06 // Rheinische Post (online) 14.04.06 // Die Welt 20.04.06

Integration courses: Correction of cost saving plans and improvement of course offers might be possible soon

In the context of the disputed plans of the federal government to cut the expenditures for integration courses, corrections are becoming apparent. In the federal budget it was originally foreseen to cut the expenditures for language and integration courses in 2006 by about 67 million euros compared to the plans of the previous year. However, federal interior minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) made the following announcement at the beginning of April: "If in the course of the year the money turns out to be insufficient, we are able to increase the funds." With this statement he reacted to massive critics from members of the coalition parties, the municipal umbrella organisations and the German association of adult education centres (DVV e.V.). The commissioners for foreign residents of the federal states were in favour of increasing the number of German language lessons from currently 600 to 900 hours and to extend orientation courses from 30 to 60 hours. The parties of CDU/CSU demanded a better coordination of the courses to meet the needs of "quick-learners" or "fast-learners", illiterates and persons with university degree, youths, women or foreigners who have been living in Germany a longer time already. In addition, a closer cooperation between asylum authorities and municipal administrations would be needed for defining which courses are suitable, when courses are started, where they should be held and which prerequisites would have to be fulfilled. The SPD added that children would have to be integrated better into integration courses.
Federal Parliament (online) 05.04.06 // Press release of the Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband e.V. 05.04.06 // FR 07.04.06 // FAZ 07.04.06 // Das Parlament 10.04.06 // Der Tagesspiegel (online) 11.04.06 // BZ 26.04.06

Bavaria: CSU state government plans to tighten Education Act

Beginning with the school year 2006/07, German language tests will be introduced for foreign children one year prior to school registration. Children failing to pass the test will be given a German language course of 160 hours during the last year in kindergarten. If they fail again, they will at first be obliged to visit special support schools. Parents who do not let their children attend a language test and a German language course, will be fined. Moreover, the parents themselves should be obliged to attend integration courses. Violent youths would have to expect an early ending of their obligation to attend school after eight years already. These proposals were sharply criticised by teachers, parents, teacher organisations, the opposition parties and even partly by members of the CSU itself. The president of the Bavarian parliament, Alois Glück (CSU) warned of blaming exclusively foreign children for the problems that have arisen. Instead of stricter sanctions, the about 20 Alien"s Advisory Boards called for introducing intensified language training courses to be commenced at the age of three already. The SPD demanded in addition to extend the network of all-day schools in social problem areas. The Greens in the Bavarian parliament are considering the filing of a complaint of unconstitutionality against the possibility of a forced exclusion from school attendance upon eight school years already.
Augsburger Allgemeine (online) 03.04.06 // taz 04.04.06 // SZ 11.04.06 // SZ 06.04.06 // NZ 05.04.06 // SZ 05.04.06

Sentence in the trial for murder for the cause of honour triggers off a new debate on forced marriages

On 13 April 2006, Ayhan Sürücü was convicted of murder of his sister Hatun in February 2005 to a youth custody of nine years and three months by the Regional Court of Berlin. The defendant justified the murder by arguing that the honour of his family was offended by his sister"s way of life. Hatun Sürücü was forced to marry, but abandoned her Turkish husband to live with her 5-year-old son alone. The public prosecutor"s office lodged an appeal at the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) against the acquittal of the two older brothers, Mutlu (26) and Alpaslan (25). Politicians got indignant about the announcement of the Turkish family to apply for custody of the killed woman"s child. The parliamentary secretary of the Greens, Volker Beck, said it would be important now "that the family of the perpetrators does not get also the power over the child of the victim." Berlin"s senator of the interior, Körting (SPD), requested the family Sürücü to leave Germany. The expert for interior policy of the Union parties, Wolfgang Bosbach, pronounced himself in favour of the introduction of a special criminal law provision relating to forced marriages. The former ministry of justice, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP), emphasised, however, that in Germany forced marriages would be punishable already. The main problem would be the application of the law: Often, forced marriages would not be reported so that the police and the public prosecutor had difficulties to investigate such cases. Against this background, the Greens called for an improved protection scheme for victims of criminal offences that would provide those who are subject to forced marriages better opportunities to obtain residence titles. Jointly organised campaigns in cooperation with migrant organisations would be necessary to convey the value of sexual self-determination, of equal rights of men and women and to create an understanding for homosexuality.
FR 31.03.06 // Press release of the Berlin Criminal Courts PM 14/2006 13.04.06 // Welt am Sonntag 16.04.06 // NN 17.04.06 // FAZ 18.04.06 // FR 18.04.06 // tagesschau (online) 18.04.06

Potsdam: Assault with presumably xenophobic background underlines importance of programmes against right-wing activities

On Easter Sunday, 16 April 2006, at 4 a.m., 37-year-old Ermyas S., a German national of Ethiopian origin, was attacked by two perpetrators at the tram stop Zeppelinstrasse and suffered a severe craniocerebral trauma. He is still in critical condition. Due to the suspect right-wing extremist background, the Federal Public Prosecutor, Kay Nehm, has taken on the investigations, saying that the this criminal act can be considered "to threaten the national security of the Federal Republic." Two suspect perpetrators had been detained already. In Germany, the incident triggered off a discussion on the risks being implied by possible cuts in programmes to encounter right-wing extremist activities. Politicians of the SPD, Greens and Left Party warned of such cuts. Initially it remained open, if the action programme "Youths for tolerance and democracy - against right-wing extremism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism" initiated by the red-green government, whose term was originally limited until the end of 2006, would be continued. The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, however, meanwhile has announced to relaunch the programme. Its focus, however, was to be altered: Besides preventive activities against right-wing extremist violence and left-wing extremism, the integration of young migrants is to be included as new area of emphasis.
Der Spiegel 18.04.06 // Die Welt 20.04.06 // FR 20.04.06 // taz 20.04.06 // NZZ 20.04.06 // FR 24.04.06 // NN 25.04.06 // SZ 25.04.06

Islam summit to help initiate a "dialogue of cultures"

Federal chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) will meet the official heads of various Muslim associations in Germany as well as "numerous well-known individuals" of the Muslim community, including also artists and scientists, on the occasion of a "Islam summit" to be held in the Federal Chancellery. The "dialogue of cultures" has been planned against the background of the worldwide controversies triggered off by the cartoons showing the prophet Muhammad in February 2006 and the most recent debate about the integration of young Muslims at German schools. The German-Turkish Forum (DTF in its German abbreviation) of the CDU suggested to set-up a nationwide register of all Imams praying in Germany as well as an agreement to be entered into by Islamic organisations and the federal government in order to regularly use central mosque services to spread "messages favouring integration". "Imams are important multiplicators among the Islamic population. The government should take much more advantage of this circumstance", said DTF chairman Thomas Kufen.
Die Welt 05.04.06 // Die Welt 13.04.06

Bavaria: German language skills mostly sufficient

According to an official statistics, 13,500 children of non-German families have been enrolled for the school year 2005/2006 in Bavaria. Of these, only 208 children (1.5 per cent) have been kept down for insufficient German language skills following the enrolment interview. Only 448 (3.3 per cent) of the 13,500 children had not attended a kindergarten.
NN 04.04.06

Lower Saxony to reduce the number of native-language classes

Following an ordinance of the ministry of education and culture, the number of hours of native-language classes will in future be limited to a maximum of three hours per week compared to previously five. Moreover, such classes will in future only be offered if at least 10 pupils enrol for them instead of previously eight. From grade 5 onwards, just shared classes will be offered, but only in case there is sufficient demand. About 600 parents had protested in Hanover against this ordinance already.
Die Welt 04.04.06

Almost 17,000 foreigners removed by plane in 2005

According to a reply to an inquiry of the Greens, German authorities deported in the past year a total of 16,865 foreigners by plane and employed force in 1,983 cases. In most cases the persons concerned were tied. Many minor cases where force was employed have not been covered by the statistics. Almost 300 deportations failed due to the resistance of the persons affected; almost 100 failed for medical reasons.
Die Welt 31.03.06

Asylum statistics

In April 2006, a total of 1,500 persons have submitted a petition for political asylum in Germany. The figure constitutes a decrease of 29.9 per cent (-640 persons) compared to March 2006. Compared to April 2005, the number of asylum seekers has declined by 33.8 per cent (-766 persons). The main countries of origin in April 2006 were Serbia and Montenegro (279), Turkey (136) and Iraq (131) followed by the Russian Federation (86) and Vietnam (70). In April 2005, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has reviewed the petitions of 2,353 asylum seekers, 26 (1.1 per cent) of whom have been recognised as entitled to political asylum. A further 66 persons (2.8 per cent) have been granted protection against deportation according to §60, paragraph 1, Residence Act. The petitions of 1,300 persons (55.3 per cent) have been rejected. The cases of another 961 persons (40.8 per cent) have been closed for other reasons, for example because applicants have withdrawn their petitions.
Press release BMI of 09.05.06

April 2006

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