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efms Migration Report


May 2005

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Legalisation campaign in Spain - a potential model for Germany?

Following one of the most extensive legalisation campaigns for illegal immigrants in Europe, up to 700,000 foreigners in Spain can hope to be granted residence titles. The special procedure, which had been launched on 7th February 2005 and expired on 7th May 2005, offered immigrants the opportunity to apply to the Spanish authorities for work and settlement permits. The largest number of applications was lodged by Ecuadorians, followed by Romanians, Moroccans, Columbians and Bolivians. Three out of four applicants work on construction sites, in the agro business and the catering trade. At first, the German and Dutch governments had criticized the measure arguing that the immigrants legalised in Spain could now also travel to other EU member states. Meanwhile, however, leading representatives of the SPD and the Greens have suggested launching also in Germany an amnesty offer similar to the one in Spain.
NZZ 10.05.05 // Die Welt 11.05.05 // SZ 12.05.05 // NN 12.05.05 // FR 13.05.05 // taz 09.05.05 // SZ 08.05.05

Deportation of refugees from Kosovo foreseen in bilateral agreement with UNMIK

Following the signature of a bilateral agreement between Germany and the UNMIK, the interim administration of the UN in Kosovo, on 26 April 2005, the German authorities will start in May to propose the UNMIK administration every month a list of 300 to 500 refugees from among the ethnic minorities of Ashkali and Egyptians to be deported to Kosovo. From 2006, it is planned for both groups to no longer limit the number of deportations. However, the ban on deportation of Roma from Kosovo and Serbian Kosovars will be maintained. Claude Cahn, Director of the Budapest-based European Roma Rights Centre, said the distinction between Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians was "hypocritical", adding that "the Kosovo Albanians consider all those people as gipsies and treat them with hostility." The agreement was also criticised by representatives of the FDP and the Green parties as well as by refugee organisations.
FR online 06.05.05 // BZ 10.05.05 // BZ 19.05.05 // SZ 20.05.05 // BZ 27.05.05

EU commissioner Frattini criticises visa policy as infringement of EU law

The opposition parties of CDU/CSU and FDP consider the position of Franco Frattini, the EU justice commissioner, as a confirmation of their standpoint according to which the order issued by the German Federal Foreign Office (AA) in March 2000 to ease the issue of visas constituted an infringement of common European laws for the countries participating in the Schengen Treaty. Before, Franco Frattini, the EU interior and justice commissioner, said at special meeting of the interior policy committee held in Strasbourg that "the applicants for visa were not thoroughly reviewed" by the German Embassy in Kiev when issuing visas, adding that the margin of discretion for the consular officers had been too large. Furthermore, the authorities had not checked whether the persons applying for German visas had the intention to later return to their country of origin.
SZ 12.05.05 // Die Welt 12.05.05

Presentation of the annual report 2004 of the German Verfassungsschutz

On 17th May 2005, Otto Schily (SPD), the Federal German Interior Minister, presented the annual report 2004 of the Verfassungsschutz (Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution) in Berlin, according to which 71 extremist organisations of foreigners with a total of 57,520 members existed in Germany. In 2004, the number of members of Islamist organisations slightly increased from 30,950 to 31,800 persons. This figure represents about one per cent of the more than three million Muslims living in Germany. With 27,250 members, the supporters of Turkish Islamist organisations again remained to be the largest group. In the right-wing extremist scene, the NPD party experienced an increase of its membership base of 300 persons. By the end of 2004, it had 5,300 members. Also the membership base of neo-Nazi groups increased by 25 per cent to around 3,800 persons.
SZ 18.05.05 // FAZ 18.05.05

"Chain toleration certificates" criticised - authorities circumvent Immigration Act

One of the goals of the Immigration Act that entered into force on 1st January 2005 was the proclaimed limitation of the practised issue of so-called "chain toleration certificates" for many of the about 230,000 foreigners whose residence has been only tolerated for years. In practise, however, the authorities of many federal states accept only cases of serious illness to justify the right of residence. In numerous cases, foreign resident authorities have even withdrawn the work permits of tolerated foreigners for whom they could not establish obstacles hindering them to leave the country. Refugee councils and the Federal Government Commissioner for Integration, Marieluise Beck, have reported about "shattering experiences". Therefore, federal and state Commissioners for Migration have published a resolution claiming to establish a final regulation to be applied for foreigners who are tolerated or have an insecure residence status.
BZ 27.05.05 // taz 29.04.05 // FR 30.04.05 // FR 30.04.05

"Ambassador of Tolerance 2005" awarded by the Federal Ministry of the Interior

On 23rd May 2005, Otto Schily (SPD), the Federal Interior Minister, handed over this prize endowed with 5,000 euros each, which is rewarded every year by the "Alliance for Democracy and Tolerance - against Extremism and Violence" that awards it to initiatives and individuals who have worked actively and full of ideas in projects against xenophobia, discrimination and social exclusion. As "Ambassadors of Tolerance" were awarded this year the Berlin-based "Kreuzberger Musikalische Aktion e.V., the Social Service Centre for Refugees of the Diakonieverbund Gera e.V., Bertha Leverton (an Ambassador of the Children, London), the Hildesheim-based Sinti e.V., the Wunsiedel-based citizens" initiative "Wunsiedel ist bunt - nicht braun" (Wunsiedel is coloured and not Nazi-brown) as well as the Verden-based initiatives against right-wing extremism.
BMI Press release 23.05.05

Hamburg: Deportation of Afghan refugees

According to Senator of the Interior of Hamburg, Udo Nagel, one third of the 15,000 Afghans living in Hamburg will be obliged to leave the country. Even this year, at least 200 single men in the age between 18 and 60 years are to be deported as they were needed for the reconstruction of the country. The plans are criticised by a broad alliance comprising political parties, church representatives and members of refugee initiatives stating that Afghanistan could not be considered a safe country at all. The first repatriations scheduled for 11th and 18th May 2005 had failed as the persons concerned applied for asylum or filed petitions; one person announced to get married to a German women. Therefore, only one convicted Afghan has been deported so far. However, even without the repeal of the ban on deportation of Afghan citizens that was valid throughout Germany and entered into force on 1st May 2005, this person would have had to leave the country. In addition, the aliens department admitted the occurrence of "computing errors" - in at least three cases even Afghans not being obliged of leaving the country were sent repatriation orders.
Der Spiegel 02.05.05 // FR 03.05.05 // FR 11.05.05 // SZ 12.05.05 // taz 12.05.05 // taz 18.05.05 // Hamburger Abendblatt 20.05.05 // FAZ net 21.05.05 // Hamburger Abendblatt 21.05.05 // taz online 21.05.05

Munich: asylum seekers take actions against food packages

Since the beginning of May, 64 asylum seekers living in the Munich district of Neuhausen refuse to accept food packages. In a resolution directed to the local administration of Upper Bavaria they claim to be paid the value of the packages in cash. The protest is supported by the Bavarian refugee council and the organisation "Karawane" who argue that these persons would be forced to accept foreign eating habits. Moreover, the provision of food packages would be more expensive than the payment of cash amounts as it is practised in other federal states.
SZ 10.05.05

NPD demonstration on 8th March prevented by peaceful counteractions

On 8th May 2005, around 3,000 supporters of the right-wing party NPD gathered on the Alexanderplatz in Berlin to protest against the "liberation lie" at the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the German surrender to the Allies. At the same time, a "Festival of Democracy" organised by the Berlin Senate, political parties, trade unions and youth associations was celebrated with the participation of several thousands of counter demonstrators at the Brandenburg Gate which helped prevent in peaceful way the march of the NPD supporters through the centre of Berlin. Now, the NPD wants to take legal actions against the Berlin police authorities arguing that its freedom of assembly could not be enforced despite the deployment of 7,500 police officers.
Die Welt 09.05.05 // Die Welt 10.05.05

"Hürriyet": Germany-wide campaign "Against domestic violence"

On 22nd May 2005, the German edition of the Turkish newspaper "Hürriyet" launched a Germany-wide campaign "against domestic violence" in order to draw the attention of the Turkish population to this subject. Following a public discussion event in Frankfurt on Main, similar events are planned to be held in Munich, Cologne, Hamburg and Berlin. The campaign is even the more remarkable as the newspaper had launched only recently a fierce campaign against Turkish women"s rights activists.
taz 24.05.05

Munich: dispute on mosque in Sendling

The plans of the Turkish-Islamist association Ditim (a member organisation of the DITIB) to build a mosque with two 35 metres high minarets at the Gotzinger Platz, has caused quarrels in Sendling. In the context of the planned mosque, the initiative "Citizens for Sendling" has now started the collection of signatures against the feared increase in traffic, parking problems and noise pollution. The initiative stressed that the concerns were not at all about Muslims or the Islam. At the occasion of a panel discussion organised by the CSU on 3rd May 2005, supporters of the planned mosque were insulted by supporters of the right-wing party NPD. The Lord Mayor of Munich, Christian Ude (SPD), said in reply that it was impossible to refuse granting building licenses just for religious reasons.
SZ 04.05.05 // SZ 06.05.05 // SZ 97.05.05 // SZ 31.05.05

Administrative Court of Wiesbaden: German members of Milli-Görüs may become stateless persons

The Administrative Court of Wiesbaden judged on 18th May 2005 that three men of Turkish origin can be deprived of the German citizenship due to the fact that they failed to disclose their active membership in the Islamist organisation of Milli Görüs upon their naturalisation. In case the interpretation of the law constituted by this court in Hesse turns out to be maintainable, the case of the three men of Turkish origin would be the first in which naturalised Germans would be expatriated into statelessness.
SZ 20.05.05

Administrative Court of Düsseldorf: Muslim pupils obliged to attend swimming classes

In a judicial precedent brought about by the federal government, the Administrative Court of Düsseldorf jugded on 30th May 2005 that Muslim male pupils - in contrast to girls of the same faith - are in principle obliged to attend swimming classes at school (Ref: 18 K 74/05). The parents of an eleven-year-old pupil had demanded his son to be excused swimming lessons at school for reasons of faith in order to spare him having to look at girls wearing only a swimming suit.
SZ 31.05.05

Higher Regional Court of Munich sentences neo-Nazis to prison

On 4th May 2005, the right-wing extremist Martin Wiese and three supporters sharing his political views were sentenced to terms of imprisonment between two and seven years by Bavarian Higher Court for the formation of a terrorist organisation, riot leadership and unauthorised possession of firearms. The members of the group named "Kameradschaft Süd" (southern comradeship) were accused of having prepared an explosive attack against a new Jewish community centre in Munich at the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone ceremony and of having planned to overthrow the democratic system of government.
NN 05.05.05 // NZZ 06.06.05

Comparative Survey of the AJC on anti-Semitism in Europe and the US

The poll of the New York-based American Jewish Committee (AJC) was taken in the US and six European countries. In Germany, it was conducted by TNS Emnid in March/April 2005 polling 939 persons. According to the survey, only 22 per cent of the Germans consider Jewish persons likeable. Thirty-six per cent are of the opinion that they have a too strong worldwide influence. Even though seventy-six per cent of the polled Germans consider it "essential" or "very important" that their countrymen be informed about the Holocaust, this figure is well above 80 per cent in Sweden, France and Austria. Lastly, almost one out of four (23 per cent) wants the past to be considered finished. Anti-Semitism, however, remains to be considered a problem in Germany with one out of three (32 per cent) finding it a "serious" problem and a further 55 per cent considering it at least a "certain" problem.
Die Welt 19.05.05

Federal Statistical Office: Foreigner Statistics 2004

According to a press release of the Federal Statistics Office published on 2nd May 2005, about 31 per cent of the 6.7 million foreign residents registered in the Central Register of Foreigners by the end of 2004 are from EU members states while 48 per cent come from other European countries. Twelve per cent are from Asia, followed by 4 per cent from Africa, 3 per cent from America and 0.1 per cent from Australia and Oceania. One out of five foreigners living in Germany (21 per cent) was born the country. This portion is especially high among the 1.8 million Turkish residents living in Germany (35 per cent), who are followed by Italian nationals (30 per cent) and Dutch residents (29 per cent). Two thirds (67 per cent) have passed the time required to apply for naturalisation in Germany: by the end of 2004, they had been living for eight years or longer in Germany.
Press release of the Federal Statistics Office 03.05.05 // dpa 02.05.05

Asylum statistics

In May, a total of 2.107 persons have submitted a petition for political asylum in Germany. Compared to April, the number of asylum seekers has thus decreased by 7.0 per cent (-159 persons.). Compared to May 2004, respective figures have fallen by 19.2 per cent (-502 persons). In May 2005, asylum seekers" main countries of origin were Serbia and Montenegro (437), Turkey (207) and the Russian Federation (126), followed by Iraq (120) and Vietnam (76). In April 2005, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has reviewed the petitions of 4,158 persons, 48 (1.1 per cent) of whom have been recognised as entitled to political asylum. A further 245 persons (5.9 per cent) have been granted protection against deportation according to §60 Par.1 Residence Act. (AufenthG). The petitions of 2,212 people (53.3 per cent) have been rejected. The cases of another 1,653 persons (39.8 per cent) have been closed for other reasons, for example because applicants have withdrawn their petitions.
Press release BMI 10.05.05


May 2005

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