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efms Migration Report

March 1999

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New bill for a reform of the citizenship law presented

Otto Schily (SPD), Federal Interior Minister, presents a second draft to reform the citizenship law, which widely takes into consideration the so called "option model" of the FDP. The most important issues of the bill are that children of foreign parents born in Germany gain the German citizenship in the moment of birth, but they have to choose between the German and the foreign citizenship in the age between 18 and 23. Children up to the age of 10 are included in this arrangement. The period for naturalisation of foreign adults is still planned to be reduced to eight years like in the first bill; the requirements for naturalisation are "a sufficient knowledge of the German language", a "declaration of belief in the Constitution", no previous convictions and the capacity to provide for one"s own maintenance. The principle to avoid multiple nationality shall be preserved; in individual cases, when the abandonment of the former citizenship is considered unreasonably difficult, expensive or a burden for older asylum seekers, special regulations can be applied. Moreover, the bill provides less bureaucracy by automatically naturalising expellees and ethnic German immigrants by act of law, as the administrative authorities would no longer have to ask for the consent of the Federal Interior Ministry to every naturalisation. Minister Schily emphasises that, even without the general acceptance of the double citizenship, this would "clearly demonstrate that Germany is a cosmopolitan and modern country" assuming European standards. Specified formulations could dispel constitutional doubts, but the bill could cause administrative difficulties. The majority of the CDU/CSU representatives refuse the bill by stating it would open a loophole for the introduction of the double citizenship. According to the Bundesausländerbeirat (the Federal advisory council of foreign residents in Germany), the draft is neither a real offer for the first and the second generation of immigrants, nor does it meet the requirements of the real life of foreigners in Germany.
FR 13.3.99 // SZ 13.3.99 // FAZ 16.3.99 // BMI Press Announcement 16.3.99 // NN 17.3.99

Politicians and courts are dealing with question of deportation of violent Kurds

The states of Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia have hitherto deported four violent Kurds to Turkey, who had participated in violent actions against the detention of PKK-leader Öcalan. One of them was arrested immediately after having arrived at Istanbul. Human rights and refugee organisations claimed to ban the deportation of politically active Kurds. Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily (SPD) arranges to check the legality of the deportation of violent PKK supporters and expresses his doubts about the seriousness of a security guarantee given by the Turkish Government. According to a judgement of the Federal Constitutional Court, political asylum can be granted to those PKK-supporters who have been persecuted by the state not only due to criminal offences. The Federal Administrative Court denies those PKK officials the right of asylum who personally endanger the security of the Federal Republic of Germany.
FR 3.3.99 // NZ 4.3.99 // SZ 4.3.99 // FAZ 5.3.99 // FR 5.3.99 // FR 6.3.99 // FAZ 31.3.99

Humanitarian solution for traumatised refugees from Ex-Yugoslavia at sight

The Interior Ministers of the Länder hold to the principle of complete repatriation of the Bosnian refugees, but they will accept humanitarian solutions for especially traumatised and strained persons to give them the possibility of a longer stay in Germany, agreeing, thus, to an appeal of the UNHCR. The welfare organisations Caritas and Diakonie, which are active in Bosnia, warn of the repatriation of old, ill and traumatised persons as well as of single women with children, regarding the situation in Bosnia as unreasonable for these groups. Berlin launches a new aid program for the repatriation of the approximately. 14,000 Bosnian refugees still living in Germany, providing an initial aid of 2,000 DM for each returning refugee as well as the same amount for the receiving community in Bosnia. According to the estimation of Mayor Eberhard Diepgen (CDU), approximately 4,000 people will accept the offer.
dpa 1.3.99 // taz 6.3.99 // FR 11.3.99

Turkish fundamentalist Kaplan arrested in Cologne

On the instructions of the Federal Public Prosecutor"s Office, the leader of the Islamic association "Kalifatsstaat" (caliphate"s state), Metin Kaplan, has been arrested in Cologne. The grounds of the Federal Public Prosecutor are: The establishment of a terrorist association, violence against critics within their own ranks and the preparations of attacks in Turkey. The consequences of Kaplan"s detention were violent riots between his supporters and the police. Turkey will possibly demand Kaplan"s extradition to take him to court for having called for fighting the Turkish Government and the establishment of a caliphate"s state.
SZ 26.3.99 // Welt 27.3.99

Female Circumcisions even in Germany

According to reports of the First German Television (ARD), there are increasingly more cases of girls" circumcisions, mainly coming from North African countries, in Germany. The TV channel reports about an African doctor carrying out the operation for 1,200 DM. Herta Däubler-Gmelin, Federal Minister of Justice (SPD), condemns female circumcision as physical injury completely unjustifiable with religious or traditional reasons. According to the Women"s Organisation "Terre des Femmes", approximately 20,000 women living in Germany have been circumcised in their country of origin.
dpa 22.3.99 // FAZ 25.3.99

Federal Interior Minister: Europol starts by July 1st

After a conference of the EU Interior Ministers and the Ministers of Justice, Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily (SPD) is optimistic that the European police authority Europol will begin to completely perform their functions by July 1st, 1999. The ministers decide to apply the system of dactylogram "Eurodac" not only to asylum seekers but also to illegal immigrants. Eurodac is supposed to prevent repeated applications for political asylum and facilitate the identification of the first receiving country to be able to send the person concerned back.
NN 13.3.99

Hamburg helps victims of traffic in women by establishing a new coordination office

Within the scope of a new project, the Senate"s Office for Equal Rights provides psycho-social attendance to victims of traffic in women and seeks to find accommodation and arrange legal advice for them. According to the Senate"s Office, approx. 2,000 foreign prostitutes live in Hamburg, about 60% of whom coming from East European countries. Many of these women have been lured by means of false promises and want to return to their country of origin. The Senator for Equal Rights, Krista Sager (The Green Party) declares that the new coordination office is meant to be an additional offer to the care of female witnesses in actions against traffic in women offered by the Land Office of Criminal Investigation.
dpa 8.3.99

No special regulations in residence rights for Bosnians with regular employment in Baden-Württemberg

The FDP representatives in Baden-Württemberg have failed with the proposal of special regulations in residence rights for Bosnian employees. According to the Minister of Justice of Baden-Württemberg, Ulrich Goll (FDP), these people have become indispensable as employees for many small and medium-sized firms. The coalition partner CDU, however, denies special regulations, since this would involve a "far-reaching impact toward an alternation in the existing immigration policy". Approximately 11,900 of altogether 53,900 admitted Bosnian civil-war refugees still live in Baden-Württemberg,
dpa 7.3.99 // dpa 23.3.99

UNHCR: Applications for political asylum at airports "disproportionately often" rejected

UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, is concerned about the high number of rejected applications for political asylum in the so-called "airport proceedings". The organisation claims that, even in expedited proceedings, the Administrative Courts should be obliged to personally judge the asylum seekers" credibility and to examine if in his country of origin her/his life is in danger. The parliamentary group of the SPD in the Bundestag announces that the accommodation of the immigrants without any valid documents is planned to be considerably improved within one year.
FR 22.3.99

Recognition of sex-specific reasons for refuge demanded

According to the German Foundation for UN-Assistance to Refugees, the sex-specific persecution should be considered more than now when examining the applications for political asylum of female refugees. Very often it was not possible for women to prove specific persecution by the government, they said. The foundation emphasises that countries like USA, Canada and Australia have defined guidelines for the examination of sex-specific persecution in their asylum procedures.
FAZ 6.3.99

After beginning of the NATO air-raids: Discussion about optimal aid to refugees

During the night of March 24th to 25th the NATO begins with the bombardment of military and strategic targets in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The discussion in Germany is concentrated on the question if humanitarian aid for the fleeing Kosovo Albanians should be provided exclusively to the region, i.e. to the bordering countries Albania and Macedonia or to let a certain quota of refugees enter EU countries. At the moment, Germany has provided 27 million DM, and the European Commission 20 million DM as initial aid for the region. Holding the Presidency of the European Council, the Federal Government stresses that it is willing to take swift action in admitting and allocating refugees, but that it attaches importance to an equitable distribution of the burdens among the EU countries. Refugee aid organisations like Pro Asyl consider this a humanitarian catastrophe, since Albania and Macedonia neither are in the economical conditions nor furnished with an adequate infrastructure to receive hundreds of thousands of people and fear that their internal politicas structures could be destabilised. Immediately before the beginning of the NATO air raids, a British court decided that at that moment none of the Kosovo Albanians seeking asylum, who had come to Great Britain via Germany, should be sent back to Germany due to the low rate of acceptance of this group in the German asylum procedure.
dpa 25.3.99 // dpa 29.3.99 // Welt 29.3.99 // Welt 31.3.99 // FAZ 31.3.99

Less xenophobic criminal offences in 1998, but the right-wing extremists more popular

According to annual statistics of the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the proportion of right-wing extremist and xenophobic criminal offences in the total of political offences has decreased in 1998, in comparison with the previous year, by 4.8% and 10.5% respectively. However, the increase of political offences committed by foreigners was considerable, which is based, according to the Federal Interior Ministry, almost exclusively on the risen number of breaches of the peace and offences against the Law concerning Assemblies and Processions and the Law Relating to Associations. Interior Minister Otto Schily (SPD) is concerned about the increasing number of members in the right-wing extremist parties and organisations by 11%. 8,200 of the altogether 53,600 members are regarded as violent. Almost half of the criminal offences against foreigners have been registered in Eastern Germany, which is to be derived, according to Schily, directly from the high rate of youth unemployment. The Turkish Islamic Community "Milli Görüs" with 27,000 members and the illegal Kurdish Workers Party PKK with approximately 12,000 members are considered, according to the Verfassungsschutz (Office for the Protection of the Constitution) the dominating extremist groups of foreigners.
BMI Press Announcement 3.3.99 // NZZ 4.3.99 // FR 26.3.99

Asylum statistics

In March, 7,925 people applied for political asylum, which is an increase of 8.1% in comparison with the previous month and, compared to March 1998, an increase of 9.9%. The Kosovo Albanians represented about one third of the asylum seekers, although the beginnning of the NATO air raids had not shown yet an effect on the development in the influx of refugees. The next group in numbers are refugees from Turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan. The rate of recognition was about 3.4%.
BMI Press Announcement 9.4.99

March 1999

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