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efms Migration Report


December 1996

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First larger group of Bosnians deported

On December 2, 1996 the first group of Bosnian refugees has been deported to Bosnia via München airport. Of the 24 Bosnians, 22 had been residing in Bayern, the other two in Baden-Württemberg. According to information from the Interior Ministry of Bayern, the group was made up of welfare dependents and criminal offenders.
FAZ 5.12.96 // SZ 5.12.96


German embassy employees suspected of being involved in immigrant smuggling

According to a report of the television news program "Panorama", immigrant smuggler circles involved in visa "dealing" are operating on the premises of 17 German embassies and general consulates, in various cities in Eastern Europe and Asia, and particularly in Teheran. Investigations are being conducted on the activities of 10 employees at the German diplomatic mission in Teheran. The Foreign Office dismisses the accusations but concedes that forged invitations are often presented at border controls.
FR 6.12.96 // FAZ 7.12.96


New documents to combat abuse of asylum procedure

The Federal Ministry of the Interior announces that new, forgery-proof document forms for asylum-seekers are to be introduced within the year. The use of these new forms will prevent all possible abuses of the asylum procedure beginning with the application for a visa. A printed form for this purpose has been developed in conjunction with the French authorities. Interior Minister Manfred Kanther hopes that other Schengen States will also participate in the future in the struggle against abuses of the asylum provisions.
Welt 6.12.96


Turkish organizations demand faster naturalization

The Turkish Community of Germany and the Turkish Association in Berlin-Brandenburg (TBB) charges that the present governmental policies on naturalization which involve lengthy and complicated procedure, is hindering the integration of Turks. According to data presented by Hakki Keskin, the chairman of the Turkish Community of Germany, only around 100,000 immigrants of Turkish origin, or 4% of the 2.2 million Turks living in Germany, possess German passports. The Turkish Community is actively engaged throughout Germany in promoting faster naturalization procedures and in arguing the case for double citizenship. Their goal is the naturalization of a million Turks by the year 2000. Pointing to the ease with which a South African soccer player was naturalized after a residence of only four years, the council of Turkish citizens demands a general acceleration of the procedures.
dpa 4.12.96 // FR 10.12.96 // FAZ 14.12.96 // dpa 18.12.96


Turkish government allows voting at consulates for Turks living abroad

The Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan announces that Turks living in Europe will in future be able to vote at Turkish consulates. This means that Turkish voters will no longer have to travel to Turkey in order to participate in elections. Erbakan says he has received approval from Germany and France, where some three million Turks live, and that their approval is representative for the entire European Union.
dpa 5.12.96


.UNHCR: many persecuted persons not protected by the German asylum policies

On the occasion of the "International Human Rights Day" the UNHCR criticizes German asylum practices for failing to provide assistance to those asylum-seekers who are truly in need of protection. Only those refugees who are subjected to "state persecution" are likely to be granted protection according to German law. This limitation excludes all those persons threatened by rebel or extremist organizations and does not, in the words of Judith Kumin, UNHCR speaker, conform with the UN human rights declaration.
FR 11.12.96


Study shows church asylum to be effective

A study conducted by the ecumenical task force Church Asylum (BAG) shows that, in two thirds of all German church-asylum cases, refugees were protected from unlawful deportation. The time gained through church asylum allows refugees to exploit the legal means to which they are entitled. The positive results in most cases prove, in the view of the authors, that refugees are often the victims of injustice not only due to procedural shortcomings but also due to deficiencies in asylum law.
FAZ 6.12.96 // taz 6.12.96 // SZ 7.12.96


Federal Interior Minister alarmed by alien criminality

Manfred Kanther (CDU), the Federal Minister of the Interior, views foreigners as a growing danger for the inner security of Germany. According to his data, 64% of those suspected of involvement in organized crime are foreigners. In order to effectively combat organized crime Kanther calls for an agreement between coalition and opposition parties in regard to harsher deportation measures and more stringent telephone monitoring. Kanther feels that there should be a close connection between policies on foreigners and on combatting crime. Members of the opposition, labor unions and human rights organizations criticize Kanther"s remarks as xenophobic propaganda.
FR 11.12.96 // NZ 11.12.96 // FR 12.12.96 // NZ 12.12.96


UNHCR wants accelerated return of Bosnian refugees

At a conference held to enforce the Dayton Agreement on December 16, 1996 in Geneva, the UNO Refugee Agency and western states agreed that the repatriation of 2.15 million refugees and displaced persons should be completed by the end of 1998. They agreed furthermore that repatriation may also take place without the consent of those concerned as is already the case in Germany. Forced repatriations, however, are to take place only to areas which are under the control of the refugee"s own ethnic groups. The UNO Commissioner for Refugees, Ogata, appealed to the receiving countries to allow especially endangered groups to remain throughout 1997. In the view of the German UNHCR speaker, Judith Kumin, Bonn"s deportation policies manifest considerable shortcomings in regard to the humanitarian treatment of groups in need of protection.
FAZ 17.12.96 // NZZ 17.12.96 // FR 17.12.96 // SZ 27.12.96


1,800 Vietnamese repatriated

On December 17, 1996 approximately 200 Vietnamese residing illegally in Germany were brought to Hanoi on a charter flight. This is the second large operation on the basis of the Repatriation Agreement negotiated with Vietnam which provides for the repatriation of 40,000 persons by the year 2000. A total of 1,800 persons returned to Vietnam in 1996. Of these, 300 went voluntarily.
dpa 17.12.96 // dpa 22.12.96


Bundesrat rejects stricter alien law

The Bundesrat has refused to ratify the amendments to the Aliens Act passed in the Bundestag, and has requested that the mediation committee be called into session. The SPD majority of the Bundesrat criticizes in particular the discrepancy between the severe paragraphs concerning violation of the internal security in Germany and deportation of foreigners with criminal records on the one hand and the planned improvements on the other. Moreover, the Bundesrat finds that facilitating deportation procedures regarding the politically persecuted is not compatible with the Geneva Convention on Refugees. The Bundesrat desires a revision of the law through mediation.
taz 16.12.96 // FR 19.12.96 // Welt 20.12.96


Aussiedler statistics

The number of Spätaussiedler dropped distinctly in 1996. According to a statement of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, 177,751 ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe came to Germany, 97% of whom were from states of the former Soviet Union. This represents a drop of 40,000 in comparison to the previous year when 217,898 Spätaussiedler entered Germany. At the same time the number of new immigration applications sank, which means that a continued drop in immigration can be expected for the coming year. The Comissioner for Aussiedler, Horst Waffenschmidt (CDU), views this development as a result of the "language offensive" conducted by Germany in the concerned countries. Many applicants were not able to pass the language test required of would-be immigrants before leaving their countries of origin.
dpa 2.1.97 // SZ 3.1.97


Asylum statistics

In December 1996 8,136 persons applied for asylum. This is 21.8% (2,264 applicants) fewer than in December of the previous year. In the entire year 1996, 116,367 applications were submitted. As compared to the total sum for 1995, this was a reduction of 9%. The largest group of refugees came from Turkey (23,814) followed by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (18,085) Irak (10,842), Afghanistan (5,663) and Sri Lanka (4,982). 7.4% of the asylum petitions were approved (14.389); in the previous year it had been 9% (18,800). Exemption from deportation for political reasons was granted to 5% (9,611 persons); in the previous year it had been granted to 2.7% of those seeking it. The number of asylum seekers in 1996 is the lowest annual number since the amendment of the asylum law in 1993. Although Federal Interior Minister Kanther voices satisfaction with this development, he still considers the stream of asylum seekers to be too high, and criticizes abuse of the asylum law and illegal immigration.
BAFl Press Announcement 8.1.97 // SZ 9.1.97 // FR 9.1.96

December 1996

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