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efms Migration Report

June 1999

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Date for return of Kosovar refugees still open

Since the war in Kosovo is over, a return of the refugees evacuated to Germany is now possible. Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily (SPD) declares that the repatriation will probably begin next spring. The refugees will be encouraged to return voluntarily. To this end, refugees might be given the opportunity to take an orientation trip to their home country. Along with the approximately 15,000 persons in Germany who were displaced in the current conflict, another 180,000 Kosovar Albanians, who have been residing for some time in Germany without permanent residence status, should also return to Kosovo. The Defence Ministry declares that refugees in Germany should return to Kosovo only after the refugees in Kosovo and neighboring countries have returned to their native country. The Länder Bayern and Berlin, however, want refugees repatriated as quickly as possible, and before the end of the year. According to Bayerns Interior Minister Günther Beckstein (CSU) refugees have continued entering Germany since the end of the war. The Administrative Court in Münster awards a Kosovar Albanian woman political asylum on grounds of group persecution due to the systematic expulsion policies of the Serbs. Another administrative court postpones the verdict in three asylum proceedings in order to see how the peace process develops.
SZ 5.6.99 // FR 5.6.99 // FR 7.6.99 // SZ 10.6.99 // NN 12.6.99 // Welt 12.6.99 // Welt 18.6.99 // dpa 28.6.99

Deportations to recommence: new guidelines for the BGS

Due to pressure from the Länder interior ministers, Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily (SPD) abolishes the ban on deportations of potentially violent foreigners. The interior ministers want to avoid "rewarding" violence with a longer stay. The ban on deportations had been declared after the death of a Sudanese during his deportation by plane. The Länder Hessen and Hamburg had disregarded the ban and appointed police officials to accompany potentially violent deportees. The pilots union, Cockpit demands that potentially violent deportees should be flown out of the country in group transports in state-owned airplanes. At an experts conference the Interior Ministry reviews the deportation practices of the Federal Border Guard (BGS); the resumption of deportations will be contingent upon new guidelines for the BGS such as outlawing the use of helmets. The Länder, as instigators of deportations, are obliged to provide the BGS with comprehensive information about the personality of the deportee, especially regarding the tendency toward violence or suicide.
FR 10.6.99 // SZ 12.6.99 // FR 18.6.99 // FAZ 19.6.99 // BMI Press Announcement 25.6.99

German deportation practices criticized

Several groups voice criticism of the way in which rejected asylum seekers are deported. The International Society for Human Rights (IGFM) brings charges against the Federal Border Police officials for allegedly abusing and humiliating seven rejected asylum seekers from Guinea during their deportation in mid-March 1999. The Greens in Hamburg accuse city authorities of deporting foreigners who had papers attesting that they were unfit to travel. As an example, they referred to the case of a mentally-ill Kurdish woman from Turkey and her three children who were flown to Turkey on June 10. The German refugee group, Pro Asyl, and the Turkish Human Rights Organization, (IHD) present eight new cases in which rejected asylum seekers deported by Germany to Turkey were maltreated after their arrival. One Kurd is said to be in danger of receiving the death sentence due to his membership in the PKK. Pro Asyl and the IHD call on the Foreign Office to immediately submit an up-to-date situation report on Turkey with information about the deterioration of the human rights situation since the arrest of the head of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan.
SZ 12.6.99 // dpa 22.6.99 // SZ 23.6.99 // dpa 23.6.99 // FR 25.6.99 // dpa 28.6.99

Niedersachsen suspends deportations of employed Vietnamese

Niedersachsen temporarily discontinues the practice of deporting employed Vietnamese and their families. This is a reaction of the government to protests in two separate cases in which 150 young people had demonstrated in front of the interior ministry in Hannover against the deportation of a 13-year-old classmate. Interior Minister Heiner Bartling declares that the so-called backlog regulation to be enforced in all of Germany will probably not affect the Vietnamese since other contract arrangements exist between Germany and Vietnam.
dpa 14.6.99

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern sets up commission for hardship asylum cases

A commission for hardship cases made up of two representatives each from welfare organizations, churches, refugee-aid organizations and the Land government, will provide recommendations in particularly difficult cases of rejected asylum-seekers. The committee will supplement the work of the foreigners authorities by considering humanitarian aspects, but will not have the authority to make decisions. The CDU opposition criticizes the use of such a commission as representing a vote of non-confidence regarding the professional performance of the foreigners authorities.
dpa 23.6.99 // FAZ 23.6.99

Number of foreign students will decrease after citizenship-law reform

It is expected that the percentage of so-called "Bildungsinländer", or foreign students at German universities who have attended a school in Germany and often have been born here, will decrease as a result of the citizenship-law reform. At present this group makes up approximately one third of the 158,000 students with foreign passports.
taz 1.6.99

Pro Asyl criticizes German policies thirty years after agreement on racial discrimination

Thirty years ago an international agreement against racial discrimination was signed by Germany. In this agreement the signing countries committed themselves to eliminating or changing all discriminating laws and regulations. On the occasion of the anniversary of this agreement, the refugee organization Pro Asyl criticizes German policies for not correcting deficiencies in the treatment of refugees and minorities: On the one hand, German policies supposedly have neglected to implement the 1997 UN recommendation to introduce a comprehensive anti-discrimination law. Moreover, the practices of deportation detention, deportation and the co-called airport procedure are said to contradict the agreement.
dpa 14.6.99

Federal Administrative Court: asylum seekers must document travel route

The Federal Administrative Court in Berlin determines that asylum seekers who claim to have entered Germany by air route must provide proof of this to the authorities. The so-called safe third country regulation which makes it almost impossible for asylum seekers to legally enter Germany by land-route, in the court"s view, can only function if the burden of proof rests with the applicant.
FR 30.6.99

Renouncing Iranian citizenship not required for naturalization

The Higher Administrative Court of Rheinland-Pfalz awards an Iranian the right to keep his original citizenship even after his naturalization as a German. The man had argued that an application to be released from Iranian citizenship would pose a threat to the existence and health of family members living in Iran, because he was a member of an opposition religious group. The court accepted this argumentation.
FR 10.6.99

Aussiedler statistics; plans to close admission facilities

In June 6,251 people were registered as Aussiedler, a distinct reduction in comparison to the same month of the previous year (June 1998: 9,226). After reviewing the admission capacities, the Federal Interior Ministry plans to close all existing first-admission facilities except these located in Bramsche and Friedland. The ministry explains that the immigration of Aussiedler has stabilized at an annual level of approximately 100,000, so that clear overcapacities have to be eliminated.
BMI Press Announcement 1.7.99

Asylum statistics

In June 9,251 people applied for political asylum. This is an increase of almost 40% compared to the previous month. One half of the applicants originates from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia signifying the group s highest rate of arrival since November 1998. The rate of approval in completed cases was 4.0%.
Spiegel 22.6.99 // BMI Press Announcement 6.7.99

June 1999

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