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efms Migration Report

July 1997

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Baden-Württemberg: bonus for voluntary return to Bosnia

Baden-Württemberg has provided additional funding to encourage civil-war refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina to return voluntarily to their homeland. Over 48,000 Bosnians currently reside in Baden-Württemberg. According to Interior Minister Thomas Schäuble, the offer is valid until September 15 and will not be repeated. The bonus will supplement the aid already provided by federal and länder governments. The maximum amount per family is 1,000 DM; single parents and couples receive 750 DM, while singles get DM 500 and children 125 DM. The money is to be handed out upon arrival in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Only those returnees who depart well in advance of the date set for their return will be awarded this assistance.
dpa 30.6.97 // Welt 1.7.97 // SZ 1.7.97 // FAZ 1.7.97

Amnesty International condemns manhandling by German police

On July 3 amnesty International presented a new report entitled "New cases - old pattern. The use of force by policemen in Germany." According to the report, in the past year forty cases have become known in which German police have employed force inordinately or unfairly or intentionally subjected persons in their custody to cruel, inhumane or humiliating treatment. These incidents, in the view of amnesty, are not isolated cases but rather reflect a "clear pattern of transgression". The violence, mainly directed towards foreigners, appears to be motivated by racism.
FAZ 4.7.97

Bundesrat ratifies amendment to Aliens Law

Against the opposition of the four länder ruled by SPD-Green Party coalitions, the Bundesrat ratified the new Aliens Law which had been passed by the Bundestag at the end of June.
FR 5.7.97 // Welt 6.7.97

Churches present "Joint Statement" on alien policies

Both Christian churches demand comprehensive reform of German laws on aliens. In their "Joint Statement" on migration and flight the chairman of the Bishops Conference, Lehmann, and the chairman of the Evangelical Church Board, Engelhardt, call for a comprehensive political strategy which takes into account that Germany "has become a country of immigration". In particular, the legal integration of foreigners living in Germany should be improved. Lehmann advocated allowing dual citizenship to those foreigners born in Germany if psychological or other factors make it unreasonable to expect them to renounce their previous citizenship. The churches recommend that immigration quotas should be considered and advocate unifying migration policies at the European level. The goal of alien policies should be to eliminate the causes of migration and flight. The churches charge that until now the law has focussed on warding off migration and has regarded foreigners as a menace. While Lehmann and Engelhardt hold that church asylum is justified in certain cases they acknowledge the inherent conflict and do not make a general claim to judicial immunity. However, they see hasty deportations as being more likely than church asylum to undermine the constitutional state.
FR 5.7.97 // FAZ 5.7.97 // taz 5.7.97 // Welt 6.7.97 // NN .6.7.97 // Das Parlament 11.7.97

The Green Party: sexual violence against women should be recognized as grounds for asylum

Alliance 90/Green Party want to grant asylum to women who are persecuted in their homelands for reasons of gender. Criticizing that a unanimous resolution to the same effect made in October 1990 was never effectuated, the group has raised the question before the Bundestag. The Green Party seeks not only to provide protection for women against state persecution but also against sexual violence as a wartime strategy, exemplified in the case of Bosnia. Furthermore, rape in police custody as well as the threat of genital mutilation by family members should be recognized as grounds for asylum.
dpa 9.7.97 // FR 10.7.97

No child allowance for asylum applicants

The Bundessozialgericht (federal welfare court) has ruled that because of their uncertain residence rights, asylum seekers are not entitled to a German child allowance or to subsequent back-payment.
SZ 11.7.97

Berlin: asylum seekers allowed to shop only in "assembly warehouses"

Since the new law on benefits for asylum-seekers came into effect on June 1, the 2,500 asylum seekers and refugees who are tolerated in Berlin receive the 20 percent-reduced rate of welfare benefits in vouchers and no longer in cash. These vouchers may be traded in at two "assembly warehouses". Criticism has been directed against the Berlin system of awarding benefits in goods because the warehouses are located at great distances from the lodgings of the recipients, and also because the selection of goods is limited and the prices at the warehouses are often higher than in other supermarkets.
taz 8.7.97 // FR 9.7.97 // FAZ 14.7.97 // SZ 16.7.97

CSU calls for right to return for Vertriebene

At the meeting of Silesians in Nürnberg, the Bavarian Minister of the Interior, Beckstein asserted that Germany"s eastern neighbors planning to enter the EU should first guarantee that the Vertriebene (ethnic Germans exiled from Poland and Czechoslovakia during the Second World War) have the right to return. The CSU politician said that the Poles should give the Silesians the chance to return to and settle in their ancestral homeland.
SZ 14.7.97

Residence permit despite welfare

The Oberverwaltungsgericht (high administrative court) in Rheinland-Pfalz in Koblenz ruled that the receipt of welfare benefits does not necessarily justify refusing a residence permit to foreigners. This ruling applies to cases where the residence permit has been repeatedly renewed for years despite continuing welfare dependence, thus establishing a practice and inspiring the trust of the foreigner. In such cases, the government may not violate this trust by refusing renewal without significant reasons.
dpa 16.7.97

Europarat rebukes Germany for police violence

The anti-torture committee of the Europarat (European Council) has accused German police officials of using force during arrests. Foreigners in deportation custody had also complained of being hit, kicked and beaten with clubs. The committee urges that deportation detainees be lodged separately from prisoners awaiting trial and convicts.
dpa 17.7.97 // FAZ 18.7.97

Green Party demand: refusal of visa must be explained

The Green Party seeks to require of German officials abroad that they provide written explanations of why they have turned down visa applications. The Green Party considers the practice of refusing a visa without explanation and failing to apprize applicants of their rights to be unconstitutional.
FAZ 18.7.97 // SZ 18.7.97

Bayern criticizes elimination of border controls

Bayern considers it premature to eliminate border controls on April 1, 1998 as agreed on by Germany, Italy and Austria. Bavarian Interior Minister Beckstein conceded that Austria and Italy had made great efforts to protect their exterior borders, but said that Italy"s long coast was difficult to guard against illegal immigrants. Beckstein would have preferred a longer transition period to ensure that compensatory measures had been adequately developed before completely doing away with border controls.
FAZ 9.7.97 // NZZ 20.7.97 // SZ 21.7.97

Schröder in favor of deporting foreign offenders

Niedersachsen"s Prime Minister Gerhard Schröder (SPD) has called for swift deportation of foreign criminal offenders. Whoever abuses the Gastrecht (rights and privileges of foreigner guests) should, in Schröder"s opinion, be deported quickly. He justified his hard line, pointing to problematic areas of organized criminality in which foreigners have the upper hand. "Poles are especially active in organized car theft, the Russian Mafia dominates the prostitution sector, and drug traffickers are frequently from southeastern Europe and Africa."
FAZ 21.7.97

Dietmar Schlee appointed coordinator for Bosnian refugees

The CDU Bundestag member Dietmar Schlee is the coordinator for the repatriation of Bosnian civil-war refugees. His field of duties will include coordinating the return of refugees and informing them of the possibility of voluntary return. Schlee has been a member of the Bundestag since 1994. Prior to that, he was the minister of the interior in Baden-Württemberg.
dpa 16.7.97 // FR 23.7.97

Church bells and muezzin call equal according to the law

The Christian practice of ringing church bells and the Islamic call to prayer via loudspeaker are the same in the eyes of the law. This was the conclusion reached by legal experts in a report requested by Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen, the Federal Commissioner for Foreigners. The experts base their argument on Article 4 of the Basic Law which lays down the principles of religious freedom. In this sense, the call to prayer is a cult ritual which, like the ringing of bells, summons the faithful to a religious function.
taz 23.7.97

No more work permits for Eastern Europeans

The Federal Institute of Labor has instructed all employment offices to no longer issue work permits to Poles and Hungarians. Work permits for Bulgarians, Czechs, Slovakians, Croatians and citizens of other countries with so-called labor contingents can only be issued if the work can clearly be concluded by September 30, said a spokesman of the Labor Institute. This new practice derives from an EU Commission decision that governmental agreements between Germany and single Eastern European countries on labor contingents violated EU communal law because these agreements limited free service trade. Such agreements would have to be valid for all EU states. In the view of the Federal Institute of Labor, however, this would have unforeseeable consequences for the German labor market. Workers who already have a work permit will not be affected by the new regulation.
NN 24.7.97 // SZ 24.7.97

Green Party demands anti-discrimination law

The Bundestag group Alliance 90/Green Party intends to introduce a bill on anti-discrimination by October. This law would protect the rights of minorities and guarantee compensation for handicapped persons, foreigners and homosexuals in case of discrimination. The law would improve minority protection as called for in the UN Human Rights Convention.
FR 25.7.97

CDU/CSU seek more rigorous aslyum law

The spokesman on domestic issues of the CDU/CSU Bundestag group, Erwin Marschewski, advocates transforming the subjective basic right to asylum formulated in Article 16 of the Basic Law into an "institutional guarantee". This would enable the legislator to grant asylum to refugees, while, in contrast to the basic right to asylum, allowing him complete freedom to set up the terms and modalities of asylum.
FR 26.7.97

Commissioner urges foreigners to learn German

Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen, the Federal Commissioner for Foreigners, urged foreigners to learn German as she presented her booklet " Learning German - No Problem". She pointed out that contact to the native population depended largely on the knowledge of German, as those mastering the language were more capable of dealing with landlords, employers, and the authorities. It was important, Schmalz-Jacobsen continued, to cultivate one"s own language and culture, but mastering a second language did not mean renouncing one"s own culture.
dpa 29.7.97 // FAZ 30.7.97

Germany has highest rate of immigration

According to the 1996 Annual Report of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Germany admits more immigrants than any other European country. In 1995,800,000 immigrants came to Germany while 88,000 came to Switzerland and 67,000 to the Netherlands. The main reason for immigration, according to the OECD, was the reunification of families.
Welt 20.7.97

Number of foreign offenders remains constant

The Federal Office for Criminality announced that the number of aliens suspected of committing crimes has remained constant in comparison to the previous year. In both years, 28.3 percent of all suspects were aliens, a number which decreases to 21.8 percent if one excludes such typical offences as violating the Aliens Law or the Asylum Procedure Law for which almost every third alien suspect was investigated. A disproportionately high number of foreigners were suspected of unauthorized gambling (69.3%), pickpocketing (65.5%), organized criminality (62.3%), illegal trade and smuggling of cocaine (56.7%), forging documents (56.4%) and counterfeiting money ( 52.2%). Federal Interior Minister Manfred Kanther stressed that many foreign offenders did not live in Germany but entered the country for the purpose of committing particular crimes.
FAZ 22.7.97

Rise in human trade

In response to an inquiry made by the PDS Bundestag group, the government announced that in the past year 1,094 cases of trading in humans were registered in Germany. In 1995 there were 919 cases. The number of victims rose from 1,196 in 1995 to 1,473 in 1996. The number of female victims rose from 1,158 in 1995 to 1,445 in 1996.
Welt 22.7.97

Aussiedler statistics

The number of Aussiedler (ethnic German immigrants from eastern Europe) continued to drop in July. According to the Federal Interior Ministry, 12,483 Spätaussiedler came to Germany in July, in contrast to 15,074 in June. Horst Waffenschmidt, the commissioner for Aussiedler attributes the drop to the tendency of ethnic Germans to move from Kazakhstan to Russia.
FR 2.8.97

Asylum statistics

In July 8,839 persons applied for asylum in Germany. In comparison to July 1996 the number of asylum seekers has dropped by 7.1 percent. The main countries of origin were Irak, Turkey and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees reached decisions on 15,281 asylum petitions in July. 672 persons (4.4%) were recognized as entitled to asylum.
BMI Press Announcement 7.8.97

July 1997

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