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efms Migration Report

November 1996

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Repatriation agreement with Bosnia-Herzegovina

After negotiations lasting over a year, the governments of Germany and Bosnia-Herzegovina have signed an agreement regarding the repatriation of approximately 300,000 Bosnian refugees currently residing in Germany. Under the terms of the agreement Bosnia pledges to admit all returning nationals. In return, Bosnia will receive financial assistance in reconstructing the country. While the agreement does not stipulate when repatriation will begin, it has been possible since October of this year. Single persons and couples without children are to be the first to return. In a second phase beginning in summer 1997, all other Bosnian refugees will follow.
FAZ 21.11.96 // FR 21.11.96

Bundestag passes bill to amend the Aliens Act

A bill drafted by the ruling coalition parties is approved by the Bundestag on November 14, 1996. The new law contains improvements in residence rights (for retired persons, juveniles in vocational training, young handicapped persons and foreign spouses in "exceptional hardship cases"). On the other hand, the law expedites the deportation of criminal offenders sentenced to at least three - previously five - years imprisonment. The reform proposals of the ruling coalition parties prevail over those of the opposition who feel that the government has wasted the opportunity to effect a much-needed reorientation regarding alien policies and, more specifically, to enact a new naturalization law.
SZ 15.11.96 // FAZ 15.11.96 // taz 15.11.96

Commissioner for Foreigners criticizes status of former GDR contract workers

Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen (FDP), the Federal Government Commissioner for Foreigners, demands permanent residence rights on humanitarian grounds for the approximately 15,000 remaining foreign workers with GDR contracts. In the 1980s the GDR brought in 20,000 workers (mainly from Vietnam, Mozambique, Angola and Cuba) whose residence status in reunified Germany is extremely insecure. Every two years they receive a residence authorization which may be extended if the former contract workers can demonstrate that they have work, housing and that they have no criminal records.
taz 2.11.96 // SZ 9.11.96

UN calls for monitoring German police to prevent hostile acts towards foreigners

In the course of discussions regarding the German government report on human rights submitted in Geneva, the human rights commission of the United Nations recommends closer outside control of German police authorities in order to prevent xenophobic, racist-oriented acts of hostility during arrests of foreigners. As a result of the Amnesty International report on police violence towards foreigners from 1992-1995, UN experts call for an independent investigation.
FR 6.11.96 // SZ 5.11.96

Spätaussiedler: German language skills a prerequisite for immigration

According to a ruling of the federal administrative court in Berlin, ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe (the so-called Aussiedler), wishing to apply for admission to Germany are required to have a command of the German language. An Aussiedler from Russia had filed an appeal against the rejection of his application on the grounds that he had not passed the language examination at the German embassy in Moscow. In the court"s view, the "avowal of German ethnic belonging" is not sufficient for admission; it must be accompanied by such characteristics as "German language, education and culture".
FAZ 14.11.96 // SZ 14.11.96

Commissioner for data protection criticizes naturalization file

The Leipziger Volkszeitung has revealed the existence of a naturalization file compiled by the Ministry of the Interior which has been kept for 13 years in the Federal Institute of Administration in Köln without any legal basis. Approximately 2.8 million data on naturalized persons have been stored there. A large portion of them pertain to naturalization and expatriation before 1945. This data could be relevant in proving the citizenship of descendants. In close association with the Central Register of Foreigners (AZR), the office of administration also records data relating to current naturalizations. The Federal Commissioner for Data Protection, Joachim Jacob, regards the legality of such files as dubious. Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen, the Commissioner for Foreigners of the Federal Government, condemns official discrimination between "two kinds of Germans".
FR 12.11.96 // taz 11.11.96

Court ruling: no deportation to civil war countries

The federal administrative court in Berlin rules that foreigners may not be deported into home countries where civil war poses threats. Endangerment of health and life is considered a compelling obstacle to deportation. Until now deportations could only be prevented by demonstrating individual persecution or through a general ban on deportations. In the case of an Angolan who was to be deported to his home country in 1993 the general situation in Angola is to be examined with regard to possible dangers. The same procedure should in the opinion of the judges be applied in future also to Zaire and Ruanda.
SZ 20.11.96 // FR 20.11.96

No asylum procedure in Poland for refugees deported from Germany

The "Society for Research on Flight and Migration" (FFM) has found in visits to Polish deportation detention centers that many non-European refugees who are deported from Germany into the supposedly "safe third country" Poland are deceived by the local authorities there who deliver them to detention centers without proper procedure or information about the process. The federal border police was also severely criticized for deporting a number of refugees without proof that they had entered Germany from Poland.
FR 12.11.96 // taz 27.11.96

Nordrhein-Westfalen: success of the Commission for Hardship-Cases

The Nordrhein-Westfalen Interior Minister, Franz-Josef Kniola (SPD), expresses his great satisfaction with the work of the hardship-case commission which was established in March to review the foreigners authorities" decisions on deportation. Among the members of this commission are church, welfare and refugee organization representatives. In the first eight months the commission has reviewed 224 asylum petitions and submitted 46 recommendations in favour of the petitioners. As a rule, the foreigners authorities follow these recommendations even though they are not legally bound to do so.
FR 29.11.96

FDP calls for integrating Turks in the party

In the presence of Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, Federal Commissioner for Foreigners, Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen, and the Turkish ambassador Volkan Vural, the first regional association of the "Liberal Turkish-German Union" (LTD) was established in Berlin. The LTD is made up primarily of academics and professionals such as doctors and entrepreneurs and sees itself, in the words of its chairman Mehmet Gürcan Daimagüler, as a "v-belt between Turkish entrepreneurs and German politicians". One of the group"s main goals is the liberalization of the citizenship law.
Welt 29.11.96

Asylum statistics

The number of petitions for asylum in November 1996 was 10,230 or 1,447 fewer asylum seekers than in the previous month. In comparison to the previous year there were 2,923 fewer asylum seekers. Of the asylum seekers, 2,111 came from Turkey, followed by 1,243 from Irak, 1,214 from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 522 from Afghanistan and 464 from Iran. Decisions were reached on 16,071 of the petitions with an acceptance rate of 6.5%. Another 5.3% obtained protection from deportation.
BAFl Press Announcement 5.12.96

November 1996

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