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efms Migration Report

September 2005

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EU package of measures on "immigration and asylum"

In a further step towards the realisation of the "Hague Programme strengthening freedom, security and justice in the European Union", the European Commission presented on 1 September 2005 a proposal for a Directive to harmonize the repatriation of illegally staying third-country nationals along with a call for limiting to a maximum of six months the taking into custody to secure deportation and to repatriate persons only to countries where they are not in danger of suffering torture or acts of violence. With a view to the massive onslaught of black Africans who were trying for weeks to enter the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in Morocco, EU justice commissioner Frattini recommended in addition to agree on a common European immigration policy. On the occasion of a meeting of the 25 EU ministers of the interior in Newcastle in mid-September, Federal Minister of the Interior Otto Schily (SPD) criticised the proposal for the Directive arguing that it would rather contain rights warranting protection than provisions to facilitate deportations and that it would not meet the requirements needed for fighting against illegal migration and terrorism. The European Parliament, however, sees the topic in a different light: even though a majority of the members of the European Parliament agreed on 27 September 2005 with the proposed Directive, they claimed a number of important changes to be made in the proposal of the European Council of the ministers of the interior and rejected a multitude of rules of exceptions that would have allowed individual Member States to adopt their own policies.
Press release of the EU Justice Commission IP/05/1079 01.09.05 // Press release of the EU Justice Commission IP/05/1080 01.09.05 // Press release of the EU Justice Commission, SPEECH/05/473 01.09.05 // FAZ 02.09.05 // NN 10.09.05 // FAZ 17.09.05 // dpa 23.09.05 // dpa 27.09.05 // Der Spiegel online 27.09.05 // Die Welt 30.09.05

Europeans implement joint deportations

In a concerted action, several European countries jointly organised in Hamburg, Germany, the repatriation of 27 foreigners. The foreigners who were found having to leave the EU were flown to Togo, Nigeria and Benin. Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Malta and Switzerland participated in the collective repatriation. From Germany, 15 foreigners were returned whose repatriation had failed before and who had stayed in custody securing deportation.
FR 16.09.05

Investigation committee on visa affair finished its work

The presentation of the status report of the investigation committee on the visa affair on 7 September 2005 led to a controversial debate in the German parliament. On more than 800 pages, the report summarizes the outcomes of more than 58 questionings of witnesses and the analysis of 1,600 files containing information on the visa policy of the red-green government coalition. The opposition parties accused the Federal Foreign Office again of having facilitated the activities of human smugglers and traffickers by pursuing a "visa policy that was wrong and ideologically motivated". At the same time, however, the opposition admitted that it was hard to quantify the actual extent of the material damage caused to Germany. Even experts would controversially discuss the figures quoted to quantify illegal labour, human trafficking and forced prostitution.
SZ 08.09.05 // Die Welt 08.09.05 // FAZ 08.09.05 // Tagesspiegel (online) 08.09.05 // Das Parlament 12.09.05

Language is the key - outcomes of integration courses

Since 1 January 2005, around 145,000 foreigners and ethnic German repatriates have been found eligible to attend integration courses offered throughout Germany. In addition, 82,000 foreigners who were not obliged to attend the courses (so-called "Bestandsausländer") have enrolled voluntarily. Altogether, more than 162,000 immigrants have been granted permission to attend the courses, 70,000 of whom - in their majority women who are accounting for 60 per cent of all participants - had already taken advantage of the offers. So far, 2,000 participants have taken the final exam, with half of them passing it with the marks "very good" or "good". According to estimates of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), the number of 194,000 persons eligible for participation in 2005, which had been estimated by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, is likely to be surpassed by the end of the year. The surprisingly high number of about 95,000 immigrants has expressed interest to attend the language and integration courses on their own initiative. The Head of Group "Integration" at the Federal Office, Regina Jordan, called it a "catch up on-effect", adding that many of the foreigners who have been living in Germany for a longer time take advantage of the offers to finally gain a proper knowledge of the German language.
Press release of the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) of 12.09.05 // NN 17.09.05 // BMI press release of 23.09.05 // Die Welt online 25.09.05

Islamic associations to establish a common representation body

Leading Muslim associations in Germany agreed in Hanover on 10/11 September 2005 to establish a common organisation and statutes on Federal state level. For the beginning of 2006 it is planned to establish a Germany-wide organisation, whose aim is to facilitate the dialogue on topics like Islamic instruction classes at schools, spiritual assistance to hospital patients of Islamic belief or issues like the ban of headscarves. The Turkish-Islamist Union of the Institute for Religion (DITIB), however, which is the largest association comprising 700 mosques, was not among the participants. DITIB representatives said that the organisation wanted to expect first the outcomes of the plans. In talks held in Berlin on 22 September 2005 on the possibility of future co-operations, the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD) agreed with high-level representatives of the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) to establish a working group for "Confidence building" which is to comprise both representatives of the security services and the Muslim communities.
FAZ 13.09.05 // FAZ 14.09.05 // Die Welt 23.09.05

Federal Ministry of the Interior to ban two extremist Islamistic associations

On 5 September 2005, the Essen-based Islamistic association for procuring donations "YATIM Kinderhilfe e.V." (children support association) and the Neu-Isenburg-based "E.Xani Presse- und Verlags-GmbH (press service and editorial) have been banned by claiming that "YATIM Kinderhilfe e.V." was a follow-up organisation of the "Al Aqsa e.V." banned in 2002 and that "E.Xani Presse- und Verlags-GmbH" was the publisher of the Turkish language newspaper "Özgür Politika". Both organisations are suspected of procuring donations for the organisations of HAMAS in the Palestinian territories. Along with the ban, 66 locations in eight Federal states were searched. Premises of the association and the editorial, the printing shop of "Özgür Politika", a mosque as well as dwellings were searched and a lot of evidence and assets of both associations confiscated.
Press release of the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) of 05.09.05 // FAZ 06.09.05 // Merkur (online) 06.09.05 // BMI press release of 06.09.05

Federal states to strengthen joint efforts to encounter Islamists

The German federal states of Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg have agreed to intensify joint investigations on activities at mosques and in among Muslim business circles. According to the Minister of the Interior of Hesse, Bouffier (CDU), investigations in the aftermath of the terror attacks of Madrid and London have shown that Islamistic terror groups are in particular funded by criminal offences such as robberies and organised crime. Within the framework of the most recent measure undertaken in Hesse on 26 September 2005, 1,260 persons in 20 cities were controlled by 500 police officers. On 23 September 2005 already, five dwellings and the premises of an association located in Neu-Ulm and its surroundings had been searched under the suspect that presumable Islamists there had supported calls for armed actions.
SZ 24.09.05 // Press release of Ministry of the Interior and Physical Education of Hesse of 28.09.05 // Die Welt 28.09.05 // SZ 30.09.05

Friedland: a symbol of freedom celebrates it 60th anniversary

On 26 September 2005, the border transit camp of Friedland near Göttingen, which was established by the British military administration, celebrated its 60th anniversary. With a capacity to allocate 10,000 persons, the camp has served as first refuge for more than four million refugees, displaced persons, returning prisoners of war and ethnic German repatriates so far. In 1945 alone, more than 500 special trains carrying almost half a million of refugees arrived there. Today, the Friedland camp is the last remaining camp of initial reception for ethnic German repatriates and Jewish emigrants. Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily (SPD), acknowledged the function of the Friedland camp as a symbol of aid to refugees in misery, of compassion and practical charity. Federal President Horst Köhler is expected to participate in the ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary which will be celebrated on 12 October.
BMI press release of 23.09.05 // SZ 26.09.05

"Refugee Day": UNHCR criticises current refugee policy in Germany

On the occasion of the "Refugee Day" celebrated on 30 September 2005, the representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Germany, Stefan Berglund, claimed that the provisions of the Immigration Act should finally be applied to tolerated refugees in a manner that would be in the spirit of international law and that would offer them a set of opportunities to obtain long-term residence titles. This would in particular concern members of minorities from Kosovo and refugees from Afghanistan. On the other hand he considered it a positive sign that an increasing number of German courts would correct deficiencies in revocation procedures against recognised refugees.
dpa 27.09.05 // 27.09.05 // dpa 29.09.05 // NN 30.09.05

Nuremberg under the sign of human rights

From 23 September to 8 October 2005, the "Intercultural Weeks" will be celebrated in Nuremberg. More than 30 events offer the opportunity to discuss how the peaceful life of mankind could be improved and mutual prejudices can be further decreased. On 23 and 24 September 2005, around 320 participants from 47 German and 37 international cities forming the "European Coalition of Cities against Racism" had already discussed strategies that could contribute to efficiently encounter racism, discrimination and anti-Semitism. Moreover, 78 selected films from more than 30 countries take part in the competition for the "Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Award". On 26 September 2005, the "Nuremberg International Human Rights Award 2005" was awarded to Tamara Chikunova from Uzbekistan who founded in her home country the organisation of "Mothers against the Death Penalty and Torture". On the evening of the same day, 3,000 citizens of the "Nuremberg Peace Table" celebrated a "Festival for Human Rights".
Press release BAMF 09.09.05 // NN 20.09.05 // NN 21.09.05 // NN 24.09.05 // NZ 24.09.05 // Press release of the city of Nuremberg No. 792/24.09.05 // Press release of the city of Nuremberg No.793/25.09.05 // NZ 26.09.05

Berlin-Moabit: Criminal proceeding for "murder of sister for the cause of honour"

In the criminal proceeding for having presumably committed in Berlin on 7 February 2005 a "murder for the cause of honour" killing the 23 year-old Hatun Dürücü of German-Turkish origin, the three brothers of the victim, Ayan (19 years), Alpaslan (24) and Mütlü (26) have been charged with jointly and insidiously committed murder from base motives before the Berlin Regional Court of Moabit since 14 September 2005. They are suspect of having killed their sister, who was divorced and living alone with her 5-year old son, because they considered her modern way of life as "insulting the honour of their family". This case has triggered off a debate throughout Germany on forced marriages, so-called parallel worlds of foreigners and the lacking integration of Muslim families living in Germany. The political parties of CDU and Greens called upon Islamic organisations and communities for contributing to tolerance and equal rights. Moreover, the parties of FDP and Greens have proposed to grant the women concerned a secure residence status as well as extended rights of return.
Der Spiegel 12.09.05 // BZ online 14.09.05 // Die Welt 15.09.2005 // FOCUS online 15.09.05 // BZ 15.09.05 // BZ 22.09.05

Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG): no voting rights upon loss of German citizenship

On 7 September 2005, the 1st division of the Second Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court followed a ruling of the Administrative Court of Bayreuth and refused a petition for a provisional order by which the applicant - also in view of the federal elections that were upcoming that time - appealed against the provisions of Section 25 (1) of the Nationality Act (StAG) in its version in force since 1 January 2000 on the loss of the German nationality. Following the deprivation of her Turkish citizenship, the architect from Bavaria was granted the German nationality in June 1999. In July 1999, she applied again for the Turkish nationality which was re-granted to her in February 2001. Subsequently, the claimant"s name was struck off the polling register. She claimed this to be unconstitutional in particular because of the lack of a transitional provision. Even with a view to the federal elections, the Court considered this argumentation as unfounded, however.
Press release of the Federal Constitutional Court of 07.09.05 // SZ 08.09.05 // NZZ 08.09.05 // Die Welt 08.09.05 // taz 08.09.05

Considerable drop in number of asylum seekers and expenditures for asylum seeker benefits

In 2004, the number of asylum seekers (4,600) amounted to only half of the number recorded in 2001 (10,500) in the Federal state of Baden-Württemberg. Therefore, hostels for asylum seekers will be closed for example in the cities of Mannheim, Tübingen and Ulm. This will help the cities to save millions of euros. Compared with the average throughout Germany, Berlin recorded the strongest decrease with a 30 per cent decline in 2004 (12,707) compared to 2003 when still 18,053 asylum seekers were living there. Also the number of unaccompanied foreign minors under the age of 16, who are registered in the German capital, has been declining from 430 (2003) to 315 (2004) to amount to 144 who have been registered so far in the year 2005. By the end of 2004, 230,000 persons throughout Germany were granted benefits for their day-to-day requirements on the basis of the Law governing Benefits for Asylum Seekers (AsylbLG), which constitutes a decrease of 12.9 per cent compared to 2003 and is the lowest level recorded since the start in 1994 of the statistical recording of benefits granted to asylum seekers.
dpa 15.09.05 // BZ 20.09.05 // Press release Federal Statistics Office of 27.09.05 // Die Welt online 28.09.05

Asylum statistics

In September 2005, a total of 2,507 persons have submitted an application for political asylum in Germany. Compared to August, the number of asylum seekers has thus increased by 3.5 per cent (+84 persons). Compared to September 2004, respective figures have fallen by 9.4 per cent (-261 persons). The main countries of origin in August were Serbia and Montenegro (361), Turkey (287) and Iraq (237) followed by the Russian Federation (157) and Vietnam (130). In September 2005, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has reviewed the applications of 3,676 asylum seekers, 21 (0.6 per cent) of whom have been recognised as entitled to political asylum. A further 116 persons (3.2 per cent) have been granted protection against deportation according to Section 60, paragraph 1, of the Residence Law. The applications of 2,244 persons (61.0 per cent) have been rejected. The cases of another 1,295 persons (35.2 per cent) have been closed for other reasons, for example because asylum seekers have withdrawn their applications.
Press release BMI of 06.10.05

September 2005

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