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efms Migration Report

November 2005

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EU: Tenth meeting of the "Euro-Mediterranean Partnership"

On 27-28 November 2005, the 25 EU Heads of State and Government met with government officials of ten non-European states bordering the Mediterranean to celebrate the tenth annually held Euromed Summit of the "Euro-Mediterranean-Partnership", also referred to as Barcelona Process, which was established in 1995. In the detailed work programme for the next five years, which was adopted at the end of the conference by the 35 Euromed-States, the participants of the summit have stressed their interest to closely cooperate in the areas of migration and illegal immigration. This cooperation includes the promotion of legal immigration and the improvement of measures to fight against illegal migration and trafficking in human beings.
SZ 03.11.05 // Handelsblatt 24.11.05 // NZZ 25.11.05 // FTD 25.11.05 // FAZ 29.11.05

EU Commission: Initiative against illegal immigration

On 30 November 2005, the EU Commission published a communication to the Ministerial Council and the European Parliament as a first step towards a "coherent, comprehensive and balanced" European migration policy. It is foreseen to establish joint coastal patrols in the Mediterranean, to set up expert teams that are available at short notice to provide technical and operational support for Member States facing sudden migration problems, to found an special solidarity fund to support countries bordering the Mediterranean which are particularly affected by migration flows as well as to establish a early warning system allowing for an improved exchange of information among the European officials stationed in the most important countries of origin and transit for migrants.
FR 14.11.05 // FAZ 01.12.05 // SZ 01.12.05 // taz 01.12.05 // NZZ 01.12.05

EU report on xenophobia and discrimination of minorities

On 23 November 2005, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) published its report on racism and xenophobia. According to the report, minorities living in the European Union are particularly often subject to discrimination. The about 8 million Roma form the group that is affected most. However, also citizens of Muslim belief, labour migrants from Africa, Middle East and Latin America are affected.
taz 24.11.05 // FR 24.11.05

Böhmer new parliamentary undersecretary for integration

On 29 November 2005, the Federal government appointed Prof. Maria Böhmer (CDU) as parliamentary undersecretary for integration at the Federal Chancellery and as new Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees und Integration. With her appointment, the 55-year-old professor for educational theory from Rhineland-Palatinate succeeds Marieluise Beck (party of Bündnis 90/The Greens). According to Böhmer, the appointment as minister for integration at the Federal Chancellery constitutes an important upgrade of this office.
taz 23.11.05 // FR-aktuell 23.11.05 // Press release of the integration commissioner 29.11.05 // Die Welt 01.12.05

New representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Germany

From 1 December 2005, Gottfried Köfner, who at the moment still represents the UNHCR in Vienna, will be the new UNHCR representative in Berlin. With this appointment he substitutes Stefan Berglund, who has been representing the UNHCR in Germany since 2002 and who will go into retirement.
Press release of UNHCR 11.11.05

Riots in Paris: Problems with integration in France unleash a debate in Germany

The severe riots that broke out on 27 October 2005 in the suburbs of Paris which are home to immigrants from North and Black Africa spread within a few days to 274 communities throughout France and lasted three weeks. The cause of these riots was a fatal accident suffered by two migrant youths who tried to escape from the police in Clichy-sous-Bois near Paris. On 8 November 2005, the French government declared the state of emergency, which meanwhile was prolonged to remain in force until 14 February 2006. In the course of the upheavals, schools, kindergartens and shops were damaged or destroyed; around 10,000 cars were set on fire and 3,000 youths were arrested. For the time being, German politicians, migration experts and representatives of immigration groups do not expect similar riots to take place in Germany too, stating that in Germany, a degree of segregation as high as and comparable to that observed in French cities would not exist. However, they were jointly warning of underestimating the disastrous situation on the German vocational training and labour market and the threats that are linked to the emerging disintegration. The new Federal Minister of the Interior, Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU), emphasized that the integration of immigrants would be one focal point of emphasis for the new Federal government.
FTD 03.11.05 // taz 07.11.05 // Handelsblatt (online) 07.11.05 // FTD 08.11.05 // FAZ 08.11.05 // NZZ 09.11.05 // Press release of the Federal government (online) 10.11.05 // Wiener Zeitung (online) 10.11.05 // Die Zeit 10.11.05 // FR 11.11.05

Fictitious paternities to become punishable

The ministers of justice of the Federal government and the federal states have announced that they will fight against the misuse of declarations of paternity to obtain residence titles and social welfare payments surreptitiously. Background: in Germany, natural paternity does not constitute a requirement for recognition. Moreover, fictitious paternities have been exempt from punishment so far. In the future, the Youth Welfare Offices will be given the right to contest declarations of paternities before a family court. In such case, the court will then have to check if a relationship exists between father and child and/or if he is the natural father. The Federal Minister of Justice, Mrs Zypries (SPD), emphasized that binational couples where "the husband looks after the child, educates him or her, takes care or pays the child"s maintenance" would not be affected by the new provision. The party Bündnis 90/The Greens and the German Lawyers" Association (DAV), however, have expressed their doubts, arguing that the right of avoidance would generally make suspect all foreign parents not possessing a secure residence status.
Der Spiegel 14.11.05 // SZ 18.11.05

Geschwister-Scholl-Prize: German-Turkish author honoured for her commitment

On 14 November 2005, Necla Kelek was awarded the Geschwister-Scholl-Prize in Munich, which is endowed with 10,000 euros. She was awarded the Prize by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association and the City of Munich for her book titled "The Alien Bride". In her book, the 47-years-old Sociologist of Turkish origin, who is living in Berlin, addresses the issue of forced marriages between Turkish girls with Turkish husbands in Germany.
NN 14.11.05 // taz 15.11.05 // FAZ 20.11.05

Turkish Foreign Minister advocates integration in Germany

On the occasion of his visit to Berlin, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Abdullah Gül, emphasised that the home country of the Turks living in Germany would be first of all Germany. In order to achieve full integration, they should learn German well and participate in the social, economic and political life. This statement has led to thorough discussions within the Turkish community. "This is a direct guideline for what to do", says Eren Unsal, spokeswoman of the Turkish Association, and added that she was happy that Gül made such a clear statement in favour of integration. This would encourage many people to take advantage of integration offers such as German language courses.
BZ 21.11.05 // Die Welt (online) 23.11.05

North Rhine Westphalia: Rigorous deportation practice criticised

Refugees" and social welfare associations have criticised an ordinance issued by the interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Ingo Wolf (FDP), at the beginning of September according to which protection against deportation should be only taken into consideration in case of "extraordinarily severe physical or psychological defects or threats to a person"s health that are of vital significance". The ordinance would not stipulate when a case of "threats to a person"s health of vital significance" would exist nor would it regulate who is in charge of determining it. Therefore, the associations suspect that it will be left to the aliens authorities" discretion how to proceed. There would be an ever increasing number of seriously ill and suicidal refugees who are deported to their home countries from Düsseldorf. Persons obliged to leave the country and who are suffering from health problems would have to undergo repeated medical examinations until they were finally found to be capable of being returned by plane. In the context of this practice, it would be striking that a particular group of medical practitioners would be in charge of conducting the medical examinations nationwide. There would be also an increase in the number of refugee children of age, who have been raised in Germany and who would be deported despite the fact that their parents have the right of residence. In such cases, the parents would be recommended to leave Germany together with their children on a voluntary basis.
dpa 09.11.05 // SZ 19.11.05

Headscarf bans in Baden-Württemberg (kindergartens) and North Rhine-Westphalia (schools) under way

On 30 November 2005, the local parliament of Baden-Württemberg discussed the first reading of a bill for a general headscarf ban that is to become also applicable for nursery school teachers. The bill follows the provisions of the headscarf ban for teachers that are already established in the School Law. Gabriele Müller-Trimbusch, head of the social services department of the city of Stuttgart, complained that the new law was to govern issues, which - particularly in larger cities - would not exist. In Stuttgart, where 30 Muslim nursery school teachers wear headscarves at work, it has proved to be worthwhile in practice to issue guidelines on the basis of which the personnel undertakes to adhere to educational principles that are in line with the Constitution. The dispute on the headscarf ban between a Muslim nursery school teacher and the city of Eberbach, located in Baden-Württemberg, was settled before the labour court of Stuttgart by making a compromise. The nursery school teacher received a compensation in the amount of 8,000 euros and accepted in return the termination of her employment on 31 August 2005 (Ref.: 27 Ca 373/05). In North Rhine-Westphalia, the government coalition composed of CDU and FDP is also drafting a bill introducing a headscarf ban for Muslim teachers working at schools. The Central Council of Muslims announced to take actions against the bill.
dpa 09.11.05 // Das Parlament 14.11.05 // Die Welt 29.11.05

Baden-Württemberg: First report of hardship commission

Since its first meeting in September 2005, the hardship commission of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg has met three times so far. According to its chairman, Edgar Wais, 700 applications for examination of a total of 2,800 persons have been filed meanwhile. Eighty per cent of the applications were filed by migrants from ex-Yugoslavia and 20 per cent by persons of North African or Arab origin. In one out of five cases, the commission recommended to grant the right of residence. One third of the applications examined, however, would have no chance to be accepted as the persons in question could not provide evidence of any integration efforts undertaken. Positive consideration would be given to persons who do not depend on welfare payments but who earn their own living, who have learned German and who have not called the attention of the police in a negative way. In four cases, the commission recommended to grant the right of residence only to individual family members. So far, interior minister Heribert Rech (CDU) has decided on only four applications and accepted three of them.
dpa 11.11.05

Rhineland-Palatinate: Unique project in Germany to support refugees willing to return

The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate makes available five million euros to support refugees with concrete assistance in the form of money or technical equipment to allow them a new start in their home countries. On behalf of the Ministry of the Interior, advisers of the social welfare organisation Diakonisches Werk in the city of Trier will offer consultancy services to municipalities on how to deal with difficult cases over the next three years. "The vast majority of the refugees would actually like to return to their home countries" says Rita Behrens, one of the project advisers. However, these refugees could not return "with their heads raised if they don"t bring back something valuable". Such return would mean a loss of face. In cases where negotiations between refugees obliged to leave the country and aliens" authorities have come to a halt, offering relatively simple equipment, such as a high-quality sewing machine for establishing a tailor"s shop, could often help solve the problems.
dpa 07.11.05

Hesse: Low voter-turnout in elections to Aliens" Advisory Boards

Of the 470,000 foreigners entitled to vote in the federal state of Hesse, only 38,000 went to the polls to elect the new Aliens" Advisory Boards on 27 November 2005. In Frankfurt, where about one fourth of the persons entitled to vote are registered, voter-turnout was as low as 5.7 per cent and hence clearly below average. Hüseyin Sitki, Chairman of the local foreigners" representation body of Frankfurt, was very disappointed that turnout at the election was that low despite the strong pre-election publicity.
FR 30.11.05

Thuringia: Deported Vietnamese family allowed returning to Germany

A Vietnamese woman, who was deported in February 2004 together with her three children, is allowed to return to Germany for humanitarian reasons. The German embassy in Vietnam has found out that the children, who were born in Germany, were not able to integrate themselves. In the course of the past months, citizens of Bleicherode (District of Nordhausen) and school mates have organised pickets and demonstrations to demand the right of the family to return. Now, the decision to issue residence permits is to the discretion of the Aliens Authority of Nordhausen.
Die Welt 19.11.05

Bavaria: Asylum seekers will be exempted from paying textbook fees for children

Like the payees of housing benefits or the so-called unemployment benefits II, asylum seekers living in Bavaria will be exempt in future from paying schoolbook fees. On 24 November 2005, the Education Committee of the Bavarian parliament adopted unanimously a corresponding motion of the Greens.
SZ 25.11.05

State of Bavaria reduces subsidies for integration

Charitable organisations such as the Caritas Association, Diakonie, Bavarian Red Cross and German Non-Denominational Welfare Association have expressed complaints that not only the Federal government but also the state of Bavaria would increasingly reduce their share in the financing of integration measures. According to Caritas, the state of Bavaria reduced the funds contributed to the social counselling of foreign nationals by 65 per cent in the year 2004. Instead of the previous 380,000 euros, Caritas would now receive just 81,000 euros. Also the contributions paid for the counselling of late German repatriates (Spätaussiedler) were cut by 15 per cent.
SZ 08.11.05

Munich: Rejected asylum seeker caught in no man"s land for seven months

Since 6 April 2005, the Iraqi national Burhan Karim Zangana of Kurdish origin has been detained at Stadelheim and Munich airport without any judicial order. According to the police, however, he is not kept in custody. His asylum application was rejected in an expedited procedure. Due to missing documentation, he is not allowed to enter Germany; for the same reason, however, he is also not able to leave the country. His urgent appeal for permission to enter Germany filed in August at the administrative court, has so far not been decided upon. Zangana"s lawyer, Michael Sack, has lodged appeals at the courts of Erding, Landshut and Munich. His reasoning: Deprivation of liberty without judicial order constitutes a violation of the German Basic Law. Moreover, a refugee may be detained within the so-called Airport Procedure for a maximum term of 19 days only.
SZ 04.11.05 // SZ 09.11.05 // SZ 29.11.05

Federal Constitutional Court: Residence rights of children of foreigners strengthened

The constitutional complaint filed by a Turkish child living with his/her father in Germany against the denial of a residence permit has been successful. In future, children of foreign nationals who were born in Germany may obtain residence permits even in case only the father possesses such a secure legal status. On 25 November 2005, the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) declared unconstitutional the Act stipulating that the rights of a child would exclusively depend on the status of his or her mother, arguing that this provision would constitute an infringement of the principle of equal treatment (German Basic Law, Art. 3, paragraph 3, sentence 1) and ordered an amendment to be introduced by the law making bodies by 31 December 2006. The equal treatment of mother and father would be possible and necessary for the child"s sake. Decisions on appeals lodged by children referring to the right of residence of their father would have to be postponed until the amendment of the law in question has entered into force (Ref.: 2 BvR 524/01).
Press release of the Federal Constitutional Court 25.11.05 // Die Welt 26.11.05 // SZ 26.11.05

Federal Administrative Court: Fundamental decision on the revocation of the right of asylum in case of political changes

On 1 November 2005, the Federal Administrative Court (BVerwG) decided that the recognition of persons suffering political persecution as persons entitled to asylum and as refugees is in principle revocable (Ref.: 1 C 21.04). As a prerequisite, the conditions prevailing in the home country would need to have changed considerably and permanently and it needed to be possible to rule out with reasonable certainty that the reasons having substantially caused the person to leave the country will not re-emerge. Objections like threats of general nature could not be raised. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) criticised that, according to the Geneva Convention on Refugees, returning refugees needed to be efficiently protected by the authorities of their home countries. In addition, the decision would split up the provisions for the international protection of refugees in Germany. The example of Iraq would illustrate this: While the Conference of Interior Ministers would consider a return of refugee as unreasonable due to the ongoing existence of general threats, at the same time thousands of Iraqi nationals would lose their recognition as refugees. This would bring about the risk of a de facto loss of the legal residence status and of losing a job or a vocational training place.
Press release of the Federal Administrative Court 01.11.05 // FAZ 02.11.05 // NZ 03.11.05 // UNHCR (online) 03.11.05

Asylum statistics

In November 2005, a total of 2,464 persons have submitted an application for political asylum in Germany. Compared to October, the number of asylum seekers has thus increased by 9.7 per cent (+217 persons). Compared to November 2004, respective figures have fallen by 7.5 per cent (-201 persons). The main countries of origin in November were Serbia and Montenegro (429), Iraq (200) and Turkey (186) followed by Syria (133) and the Russian Federation (129). In November 2005, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has reviewed the applications of 4,960 asylum seekers, 34 (0.7 per cent) of whom have been recognised as entitled to political asylum. A further 150 persons (3.0 per cent) have been granted protection against deportation according to §60, paragraph 1, Residence Act. The applications of 3,161 people (63.7 per cent) have been rejected. The cases of another 1,615 persons (32.6 per cent) have been closed for other reasons, for example because asylum seekers have withdrawn their applications.
Press release BMI of 06.12.05

November 2005

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