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efms Migration Report

August 2003

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FDP proposals for ending migration inflows of ethnic German immigrants attract criticism

According to Max Stadler, the interior policy spokesman of the FDP parliamentary party, his party is working on proposals to end migration inflows of Aussiedler (ethnic German immigrants) in the medium term. Under these proposals, current entitlements for ethnic Germans from Eastern European countries to migrate to Germany would expire at the end of the year 2005. After this deadline, Aussiedler would have to apply for entering Germany in accordance with the planned migration law. In addition, Mr. Stadler has also called for "significant improvements in integration policy for Aussiedler".

The FDP proposals have attracted widespread criticism from other political parties. Erwin Marschewski, interior policy expert of the CDU, and Jochen Welt (SPD), the Federal Government Commissioner for Aussiedler, have emphasised that Germany must accept its responsibility and moral obligation towards ethnic German immigrants. Hans-Joachim Hacker, deputy speaker of the SPD parliamentary party has also rejected the FDP proposals as they would entail a constitutional amendment which would not find the obligatory two-thirds majority in parliament.
FR 25.08.03 // SZ 26.08.03 // FR 27.08.03 // Press Statement BMI 29.08.03

Court ruling in Kaplan case confirms repeal of asylum status, but rejects deportation

The Administrative Court in Cologne has published its decision on two appeals submitted by Metin Kaplan, the Islamist leader also known as the "Caliph of Cologne". On the one hand, the court upheld the repeal of Mr. Kaplan's political asylum entitlements, as Mr. Kaplan had been sentenced to four years in prison because of a "serious criminal offence", and it cannot be ruled out that he will commit further crimes.

On the other hand, the court upheld Mr. Kaplan's second appeal, ruling that his deportation to Turkey would violate German law. In effect, the court has repealed an administrative decision by the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees. The latter had decided that Mr. Kaplan would be deported to Turkey after completing his prison sentence in Germany.

In accordance with an earlier decision by the Upper District Court (OLG) in Düsseldorf in May 2003, which had upheld an appeal by Mr. Kaplan against his extradition, the Administrative Court in Cologne has expressed the view that a deportation would violate Mr. Kaplan's basic rights because he would face a treason trial in Turkey which might not be in line with legal standards. More specifically, the Turkish court could use incriminating evidence which has been obtained by Turkish police forces by means of torture. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees has announced that the Office will lodge an appeal against the court ruling (Ref. 3 K 629/02.A und 3 K 8110/02.A)

Whereas the court's decision has been welcomed by Amnesty International, politicians from both government and opposition parties have levelled severe criticism at the court ruling. Günther Beckstein (CSU), the Bavarian Interior Minister, has branded the deportation ban as a scandal. A spokesperson of the Federal Interior Ministry has announced that the authorities will continue their efforts to deport Mr. Kaplan to Turkey. Volker Beck, legal expert of the Greens, has called it a "nuisance" that Mr. Kaplan is entitled to stay in Germany, but has also pointed out that Turkey is responsible for creating the necessary preconditions that would allow a deportation.
Welt 27.08.03 // Press Statement Federal Administrative Court 28.08.03 // FR 28.08.03 // Welt 28.08.03 // FR 29.08.03 // Welt 29.08.03

Call for Islamic religious instruction meets with approval

Josef Algermissen, Bishop of Fulda, has expressed his support for establishing Islamic religious instruction as a regular subject at German schools, provided that it follows an official and previously approved curriculum. In order to support his proposals, Bishop Algermissen has pointed out that the only alternative would be to allow that children of Muslim families are taught by religious Koran Schools which are not subject to any government supervision.

The Catholic Bishop's proposals have also been welcomed by the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD) as well as by the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD). Aiman A. Mazyek, the ZMD spokesman, has called it "encouraging" that the Catholic Church is supporting a proposal which has long been favoured by the Central Council of Muslims. Mr. Mazyek has appealed to German politicians to "introduce integrative and constitutional Islamic religious classes in the German language" at German schools. However, Matthias Otto, the education spokesman of the EKD, who basically supports Algermissen's proposal, has expressed doubts as to whether Islamic school instruction will replace religious instruction by Koran Schools.

Meanwhile, the state of Lower Saxony has launched the first pilot scheme which aims at introducing Islamic religious instruction as a regular school subject. The scheme has been initiated by the previous red-green state government, and is now implemented by the current CDU/FDP-led government. The original proposals had been presented in 2002 after negotiations between the state education ministry and Muslim organisations in Lower Saxony.
FR 06.08.03 // Welt 12.08.03 // Welt 21.08.03

Court rejects dismissal of Muslim shop assistant for wearing a headscarf at work

The Federal Constitutional Court has upheld an earlier decision by the Federal Labour Court, which had ruled in October 2002 that it has been illegal to dismiss a Muslim shop assistant because of her insistence on wearing a headscarf at work. The Federal Constitutional Court has thus rejected a constitutional appeal by the woman's employer, stating that his appeal has so little prospect of success that it will not be heard by a full session of the court.

In their decision, judges at the Karlsruhe-based court have followed the line of argumentation which presented by the Federal Labour Court in its earlier decision. The latter had decided that a dismissal can be justifiable in certain cases if an employee, citing his basic rights, refuses to carry out the work for which he has been employed. In this particular case, however, the court has found that the employer has been unable to provide sufficient proof for his allegations that the employee had interfered with his business interests and caused a loss of profits. Even though the judges have confirmed the principle of entrepreneurial freedom, they have also pointed out that the mere suspicion of a detrimental effect caused by the employee is not sufficient to justify the disregard of her religious freedom. The constitutional court has also ruled that labour courts are responsible for reviewing whether individual cases of dismissal are justified.
FAZ 22.08.03

Asylum statistics

In August 2003, a total of 3,548 applicants have submitted a petition for political asylum in Germany, a decrease by 980 applicants (-21.6%) over the previous month, and by 2,232 applicants (-38.6 %) over August 2002. During the first eight months of 2003, the total number of asylum petitions was 27.8% lower than during the same period last year.

Similar to the previous month, the applicants' main countries of origin continue to be Turkey (432), Serbia and Montenegro (337); the Russian Federation (231), China (203) and Iran (187). The ten most important countries of origin in August 2003 also included Azerbaijan and Georgia; with the number of applicants from these two countries rising from 94 to 125 each, contrary to the general trend.

In August 2003, the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees has passed decisions on the petitions of 6,500 applicants, 80 (1.2 %) of whom have been recognised as entitled to political asylum. A further 89 applicants (1.4 %) have been granted protection against deportation according to §51 Par.1 Foreigners Act (AuslG). The petitions of 4,429 applicants (68.1 %) have been rejected. 194 of them, however, have been granted deportation stays according to §53 Foreigners Act. The cases of a further 1,902 applicants (29.3%) have been closed for other reasons.
Press statement BMI 08.09.03

August 2003

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