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efms Migration Report

February 2005

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EU Commission supports "information and early warning system for migration issues"

The EU Commission and the EU presidency, currently formed by the government of Luxembourg, have presented proposals that would mandate EU members to inform fellow member states prior to changes of their national immigration and asylum policies. Respective proposals are to be submitted by the Commission shortly. The initiative for the so-called "information and early warning system for migration issues" has been prompted by the latest decision of the Spanish government to legalise the status of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants. As "legalised" migrants are free to move to any EU country after a period of five years, the Spanish decision has met with criticism by Federal Interior Minster Otto Schily (SPD) and the government of the Netherlands, among others. If the proposed information system was established, EU partners would be able to exert pressure on other member states planning to grant residence entitlements to illegal immigrants.
International Herald Tribune 08.02.05 // SZ 08.02.05 // Die Welt 09.02.05 // SZ 12.02.05 // Welt am Sonntag 13.02.05 // FTD 14.02.05

German visa practice: national and European enquiries

In the parliamentary panel which had been set up on the initiative of the opposition CDU/CSU parties, 13 MPs are currently investigating whether "members of the federal government" or "other people affiliated with the government" could have contributed through "decrees, directives or other means" to the fact that "legal regulations have been violated in several German embassies in Eastern Europe, thus aiding and abetting organised crime" (Parliamentary Printing Matter 15/4552). Opposition parties have accused the Federal Government of having violated Schengen regulations, especially in German embassies in Moscow, Kiev, Tirana and Pristina. In their view, the so-called "Volmer Directive", which had instructed German embassies in March 2000 to give precedence to free travel in doubtful visa cases, had allowed hundreds of thousands of cases of visa abuse. In the Ukraine alone, German authorities had issued almost 300,000 entry clearances in 2001. Illegal employment, prostitution, human trafficking of women, terrorist actions as well as organised and criminal human smuggling of illegal immigrants had thus been aided and abetted, or at least facilitated, according to the opposition. In a related statement, the EU Commission announced on 21st February 2005 that it would also initiate a European enquiry into whether the "Volmer Directive" and successive directives have violated EU visa regulations. According to the EU Commission, the German government had acted without consulting its EU partners. The Commission expects the first results of the enquiry in August, at the earliest.
NZZ 09.02.05 // SZ 09.02.05 // FR 14.02.05 // SZ 15.02.05 // Handelsblatt 15.02.05 // Die Welt 22.02.05 // Tagesspiegel online 25.02.05

Joint federal and state-government programme: "Advancement of children and youngsters with a migration background"

The joint federal and state-government programme "Advancement of children and youngsters with a migration background" has been offered since 3rd February 2005. The educational programme, which is scheduled to run until 2009, aims at providing improved language training at all educational levels, from kindergarten to vocational training. The federal and state governments will jointly invest € 12.5 million. States participating include Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, North-Rhine Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. Other states, among them Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Pomerania, Saarland, Saxony und Schleswig-Holstein have declared their intention to participate, too. 03.02.05

Almost every fourth migrant lives in poverty

According to a study published by the social research organisation Infratest, presented by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin on February 2, 2005, almost every fourth migrant lives in poverty. Whereas income poverty was at 19% in 1998, it increased up to 23% in 2003. The study has also found that Turkish nationals constitute the migrant group most severely affected by poverty, whereas migrants from Western industrial countries are rarely affected, in comparison.
FR 03.02.05

Award for Germany"s friendliest municipal immigration office

The award for Germany"s friendliest municipal immigration office, which is jointly endowed by the Humboldt Foundation and the German Science Foundation (Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft), has been awarded to municipal public affairs offices in the city of Aalen, the district of Dueren and the city of Leipzig. The award was presented during the New Year"s reception of the Humboldt Foundation in Berlin, and includes the sum of € 25,000. It is awarded to local authorities that have been especially open-minded, flexible and helpful towards non-German scientists and students. 02.02.05 // FR 08.02.05

Manifesto for non-Germans without a legal residence status

In a manifesto on behalf of non-Germans living in Germany without a legal residence status, which was published in Berlin on 16th February 2005, about 300 representatives of churches, political parties, companies and cultural organisations have called for a comprehensive solution to the problem of illegal immigration. The manifesto declares that the issue of people living illegally in Germany has been largely ignored by the new Immigration Act. According to recent estimates, the number of illegal residents in Germany could be as high as one million people. The manifesto has been signed, among others, by the Catholic bishop Josef Voß and the chairman of the Council for Migration, Michael Bommes.
FR 17.02.05

Nationwide security crackdown against Islamist network

On February 2, 2005, German security agencies have carried out the third nationwide raid against suspected Islamists within three weeks. According to the authorities, the Islamist network targeted by the security operation is involved in acquiring funds to finance terrorist attacks abroad. On the whole, police officers and public prosecutors searched 33 flats and 4 businesses in seven German states, targeting 24 suspected Islamists
NZZ 03.02.05

Berlin: Turkish Federation condemns honour killing

Hatin Sürücü, a German citizen of Turkish-Kurdish origin, was shot down and killed in the Berlin district of Tempelhof on February 7, 2005. She has probably become the victim of a so-called "honour killing", the fifth such crime in Berlin in only six months. The suspected murderers are her three brothers. The Turkish Federation ("Türkischer Bund") in Berlin-Brandenburg, which represents 21 organisations with a combined total membership of 10,000 people, has called on "all Turkish and Muslim organisations to make a public and active commitment" respecting the liberty and self-determination of women. It also demands that there should be "zero tolerance" for all forms of repression committed under such pretexts. On February 25, 2005, the organisation has also presented a ten-step programme to achieve this goal.
Die Welt 17.02.05 // NN 19.02.05 // Welt am Sonntag 20.02.05 // taz 22.02.05 // FR 23.02.05 // NZ 26.02.05 // Die Welt 26.02.05

Brandenburg: increase in right-wing extremist offences and violent crimes in 2004

In 2004, the number of right-wing extremist offences and violent crimes continued to rise in the state of Brandenburg. The number of politically motivated offences with a clear right-wing extremist background has been increasing since 2001, exceeding the limit of 1,000 offences for the first time in 2004, with 1,051 registered offences. This total number of offences comprises 105 cases of violent crime. Jörg Schönbohm, the interior minister of Brandenburg, has expressed his concern about the "increasing tendency to violence", but has also pointed out the positive trend of a higher clear-up rate, which was as high as 91% in 2004.
SZ 17.02.05 // Die Welt 22.02.05

Lower Saxony: right of residence for Iranian woman because of gender-specific persecution in Iran

The Committee on Petitions in the state parliament of Lower Saxony has unanimously decided to grant residence entitlements to Iranian national Zahra Kameli, on account of the gender-specific persecution of women in Iran. According to human-rights organisations, the woman faces stoning in her home country for an alleged "adultery" and her conversion to Christianity. The decision of the parliamentary committee has been facilitated by the willingness of anonymous benefactors to guarantee for the woman"s livelihood and social insurance contributions for the period of one year. Previously, the CDU/FDP-led state government had continued to insist on the woman"s deportation. A first attempt to deport the woman had failed, however, when an aircraft captain refused to take the woman on board at Frankfurt/Main airport where the 24-year old Ms. Kameli, who had threatened to commit suicide, had put up desperate resistance. About 200 people had also organised a demonstration entitled "Stop the deportation machinery" at the airport to protest against her expulsion.
FR 08.02.05 // epd Niedersachsen-Bremen 10.02.05 // SZ 12.02.05 // FR 14.02.05 // Die Welt 15.02.05 // FR 17.02.05 // Pressemitteilung BMI 17.02.05 // SZ 23.01.05 // Die Welt 24.02.05

Ruling by Federal Administrative Court fails to resolve question of entitlement to Islamic religious instruction.

A ruling by the Federal Administrative Court (BVerwG) in Leipzig has failed to resolve the question of whether there should be an entitlement to Islamic religious instruction at German schools. On 23rd February 2005, the Federal Administrative Court overturned an earlier decision by the Upper Administrative Court (OVG) in Muenster (North-Rhine Westphalia), which had refused to grant an entitlement to Islamic religious instruction. The judges at the highest administrative court have referred the case back to the court in Muenster, declaring that the reasons given for the court"s judgement were not "sufficiently justified". The administrative court in Muenster is now obliged to review the case and decide once again whether the two organisations appealing against the state government of North-Rhine Westphalia, i.e. the Central Council of Muslims and the Islamic Council, are to be classified as religious communities in the legal sense. The two Islamic umbrella organisations call for regular Islamic religious instruction at German schools and also want to have a say in selecting respective teachers.
NZ 23.02.05 // SZ 24.02.05 // FR 25.02.05 // Die Welt 25.02.2005

Asylum statistics

In February 2005, a total of 2,101 persons submitted a petition for political asylum in Germany. The figure constitutes a decrease by 10.1% (-237 persons) over the previous month, and by 29.7% (-888 persons) over February 2004. In February 2005, applicants" main countries of origin were Serbia and Montenegro (344), Turkey (225) and the Russian Federation (166), followed by Iraq (105) and Vietnam (92). The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees reviewed the cases of 3,903 persons in February 2005, 55 (1.4%) of whom were been recognised as entitled to political asylum. A further 240 persons (6.2%) were granted protection against deportation according to §60 Par. 1 Residence Act. The petitions of 2,225 persons (57.0%) have been rejected. In addition, the cases of a further 1,383 persons (35.4%) have been closed for other reasons, for example because applicants have withdrawn their petition.
Pressemitteilung BMI 10.02.05

February 2005

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