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efms Migration Report

December 1995

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Asylum-law proceedings in the Federal Constitutional Court continue

On December 5, 1995, the fourth and last day of talks at the Federal Constitutional Court, the government is forced to admit shortcomings in the asylum law regarding the "safe third country regulation" and the determination of "safe countries of origin". However, the minister of the interior feels that the talks have confirmed the success of the asylum law reform. The final decision is not expected before February 1996.

In anticipation of the decision of the Karlsruhe judges on the constituionality of the asylum law a controversial discussion flares up in which positions range from returning to the old asylum law to abolishing the right to asylum completely . The latter suggestion, proposed by the designated federal minister of justice Schmidt-Jortzig (FDP) was later retracted.
SZ 6.12.95 // SZ 7.12.95

First nationwide organization to represent Turks in Germany

The nonpartisan umbrella-organization "Turkish Community of Germany" was constituted on December 2, 1995 with the aim of representing the interests of 2.1 million Turks living in Germany. According to Chairman Keskin, the amalgamation of over 3,000 clubs and organizations regards itself as a dialogue partner at the federal level for parliament, political parties and the public. In view of the enduring presence of the Turkish population and the growing number of nationalizations, such a representation had become a necessity. The organization takes positions on integration policies and serves as a forum for public opinion, cultural activities and counseling. The "Council of Turkish citizens in Germany" (RTS), which was formed three years ago, has declared that it does not recognize the claim of the new "Turkish Community" to sole representation of the Turks in Germany.
SZ 28.11.95 // dpa 28.11.95 // dpa 3.12.95 // dpa 4.12.95

Turks living in Germany not able to participate in Turkish parliamentary elections

For the first time an amendment to the constitution has made it theoretically possible for Turks living in Germany to take part in the parliamentary elections in Ankara on December 24, 1995. The German authorities fear that riots of rival groups might take place in front of the consulates, and that this would be asking too much of Germans on Christmas Eve. Due to security concerns and misgivings about those "dual citizens" who would be violating German law by participating in Turkish elections, the authorities refuse to permit voting in Germany.
SZ 28.11.95 // dpa 28.11.95 // dpa 3.12.95 // dpa 4.12.95

Ghana not a safe country of origin

The SPD parliamentary group has called for the removal of Ghana from the list of safe countries of origin in asylum proceedings. In the context of the hearings on asylum at the constitutional court, the Foreign Office has been reproached for not being thoroughly and correctly informed about the human-rights situation in that country.
SZ 13.12.95

Slow repatriation of Vietnamese

The arranged repatriation of Vietnamese living illegally in Germany is progressing sluggishly. Since the finalization of the agreement last summer, only 30 people have been deported, whereas 2,500 deportations had been planned by the end of the year. The reason for delays is the Vietnamese bureaucracy which ascertains the identity of those to be deported on a one-by-one basis.
dpa 10.12.95

Interior Ministers consult over ex-GDR contract workers

At the conference of the interior ministers in Erfurt, representatives of refugee organizations demand permanent rights to residence for former GDR contract workers from Vietnam and deplore the unequal treatment of Western German "guest workers" and contract workers from the GDR era.
FR 15.12.95

Revision of Foreigners Act to combat organized criminality

In connection with the new law aiming to fight organized criminality, illegal smuggling of aliens and abetting aliens in the abuse of the asylum process are considered criminal actions. The coalition partners concerned with domestic policies have voted on further modifications of alien law. Foreigners who have been sentenced to three-year imprisonment are to be deported . Up to now this was possible only after a single sentence of five years or several sentences amounting to a total of eight years. Severe breach of the peace constitutes sufficient grounds for deporting aliens.
FAZ 9.12.95

Interior ministers vote to repatriate Bosnian civil-war refugees

At their conference in Erfurt, the interior ministers at federal and Laender level agree not to extend the ban on deportation for Bosnian refugees which ends on March 31. The return of 320,000 Bosnian refugees to their home country is to be staggered . Amnesty International, the Green Party, the Red Cross and the Protestant Church warn about forced deportations to an unsafe country. The Federal Commissioner Schmalz-Jacobsen demands that a conference be held to deal with organizing the return of the refugees.
FR 16.12.95 // FR 18.12.95 // SZ 20.1.2995 // FR 20.12.95 // dpa 20.12.95 // FAZ 21.12.95

Cooperation with Romania against organized criminality

The interior ministers of Germany and Romania have signed an agreement which regulates cooperation between the two countries in battling organized criminality. The main concern of German police is to cooperate with Romanian police on fighting safe-cracking gangs who in 1994 alone perpetrated 5,000 criminal acts.
FR 9.12.95

Hessen: local government will not pay for Bosnian refugees

A decision of the administrative court in Wiesbaden in favor of local government ends the legal controversy concerning the costs of housing for Bosnian refugees. After suits brought by the city of Frankfurt and the district of Main-Kinzig, three decrees of the interior minister of Hessen were revoked as being contrary to law. These decrees had encumbered local government with all the costs of admitting refugees.
SZ 13.12.95

Nordrhein-Westfalen: commission to deal with hardship cases among asylum-seekers

In accordance with a resolution made by the SPD and the Green Party, applicants for asylum who feel that they would be subjected to unreasonable danger if deported to their native countries, may appeal to a special commission for hardship cases. A similar authority already exists in Berlin. The commission, which is made up of representatives of churches, welfare organizations, civil rights groups, and the ministries of welfare and the interior, will take up its work at the beginning of the coming year. The commission will provide information and advice to authorities responsible for aliens and be able to delay deportations. The ministry of the interior expects the recommendations of the commission to provide information which will be helpful in shaping the alien and asylum laws which are valid throughout the land.
SZ 14.12.95 // dpa 14.12.95

German president in dialogue with Muslims

At a meeting of 14 representatives of Muslim organizations in Germany, President Herzog obtained information about the problems of Muslims living in Germany. The representatives complained especially about their lack of status as officially approved corporations, and about the lack of religious instruction. They distanced themselves from extremist movements within the Islamic community.
SZ 13.12.95

Bayern: legal action due to discrimination against foreigners at local government elections

The Green party will take legal action at the Bavarian constitutional court, hoping thereby to force equal treatment of Germans and aliens living in Germany as called for by the EU. The party demands that the 260,000 EU citizens entitled to vote in the local government elections in March be automatically entered in the register of voters. Only in Bayern and Sachsen do voters have to overcome bureaucratic obstacles and petition their right to vote each time they wish to participate in elections. According to the city council only 12% of the entitled voters have registered up to now.
SZ 20.12.95 // SZ 29.12.95

Statistics: disputes in the Jewish communities about membership numbers

The influx of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe has caused statistical problems. According to data from the Federal Office of Administration, just under 40,000 Jews have immigrated to Germany from the former Soviet Union since 1989. This has doubled the number of Jews living in Germany. The statistics of the Central Council of Jews in Germany indicate only 20,000 new arrivals. Many forged papers have been discovered. Both German authorities and Jewish communitites have difficulties in defining who is Jewish and in determining who is qualified to make this distinction.
FR 5.12.95

Statistics: 7 million aliens in Germany

According to a report of the federal government, 6.99 million foreigners lived in Germany at the end of 1994. They amounted to 8.6% of the general population. Fewer than a fourth of the foreigners come from EU countries. The largest group of foreigners is made up of the just under 1.97 million Turks, followed by around 1.3 million people from former Yugoslavia and 571,900 Italians. The number of refugees living in Germany came to 1.75 million in 1994 ( 1993 there were 2 million, in 1995,610 000) including 267,000 who are entitled to asylum, 650,000 de facto refugees, 415,000 asylum seekers and 350,000 civil war refugees.
SZ 13.12.95

Statistics: Decrease in extreme-rightist offences

The new situation report of the Verfassungsschutz (Federal Bureau for the Protection of the Constitution) indicates that the violence of the extreme right is on the decline. In the first half of 1995 there were 30% fewer acts of violence than in the first half of the previous year. Up to August there were 904 offences. The peak of extreme-right violence was after the German reunification in 1992 when security authorities listed 2,639 offences. In 1993 there were 2,232 offences; since 1994 the numbers have been declining. Approval of right-wing parties is also on the wane. The statistics of the Verfassungsschutz indicate a potential for right-wing extremism in about 56,600 persons, a number significantly lower than in 1993 when the potential was assesed at 64,500. Nevertheless, in view of the activities of armed neonazis the Bundesamt does not wish to understate the seriousness of the situation.
Welt 12.12.95

Statistics: fewer Aussiedler

According to the Federal Commissioner for Aussiedler, Waffenschmidt, there were fewer late emigrants of German extraction from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to Germany in 1995 (217,898 in comparison to 222,591 the previous year), however there were more applications for permission to enter Germany from people in this region (260,556 applications in comparison to 237,291 the previous year). Many people of German descent make an effort to acquire such a notice of permission for their own security, in case of an emergency.
Welt 12.12.95

Asylum statistics

The number of petitions for asylum in December amounted to 10,400 ( December of previous year: 12,186) The annual statistics have remained constant in comparison to 1994 with a total of 127,937 applying for asylum (727 more than in 1994). Of the applications, 9% were approved. Two and a half years after the amendment to the asylum law, the number of refugees has levelled off to about 10,000 refugees per month. As in the previous year, almost half of the refugees in 1995 originate from ex-Yugoslavia or Turkey. Especially the stream from Romania and Bulgaria was checked after the modifications to asylum law in 1993. Federal Interior Minister Kanther has expressed satisfaction with present policies concerning asylum, but he still considers the number of refugees to be too high.
SZ 10.1.95 // BMI Press Announcement 9.1.1996 // FAZ 10.1.1996

December 1995

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