Report on the meeting due to „Neckermann“ last Friday, 5th February 2016

On Friday the initiative „Welcome Frankfurt“ held a meeting with human rights organisations, supporters, press and other interested people.

This meeting was supposed to discuss the situation in the mass quarter for refugees, which we will call simply „Neckermann“, as it is the old store and office building of the catalog company Neckermann. This building is as huge to possibly place more than 2000 people, but the facilities are not suitable for such a mass quarter, as people were working and not living there.

Around 1600 refugees must stay in this quarter and wait for the handling of their asylum cases. According to the asylum package No. 1, which passed parliament end of last year, staying in such camps is possible up to 6 months.

The initiative „Welcome Frankfurt“ is against this law and against mass quartering of refugees. We think it is not possible to organise humane living conditions in this way, especially not for children. Now there are around 400 children in „Neckermann“.

As long as the children stay in this quarter they are not obliged to go to school, if they are in school age. Normally this is an obligation by law. But it seems that there is a special law for children whose families are refugees.

Our demands:

* The first demand of our initiative is to install an independent observary group for „Neckermann“. This seems to be needed in other refugee camps too, as supporters reported at the meeting.

Different NGOs and Human Rights Organisations like Pro Asyl, Hessischer Flüchtlingsrat, Kinderschutzbund show their willingness to support this demand.

*Also we demand a meeting point in the camps, so that resident population, migrants, refugees and all supporters can meet and talk openly about the existing problems and possible solutions. It is very important to break the isolation in the camps. Refugees in „Neckermann“ call the camp a prison. This situation must end.

*Furthermore we demand an independent counceling for refugees in the camp. They should have the possibility to get information on asylum law and procedures.

*Children must go to school. The United Nations Children‘s Rights Convention contains the right of every child to go to school. Even if the children are in camps just for a short time it is better for them to have a place like school where they can be among children, learn and play. This is also needed to disburden the parents for a while and to encourage parents to take care of their asylum case and other administrative duties.

This week the initiative „Welcome Frankfurt“ is invited by the provincial government of Hessen to visit the camp. We are planning to go to the camp on thursday.

Step by step – pracitical solidarity will hopefully show results.

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The Interview: a key part of the asylum procedure


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Direct attack on the individual right of asylum

Press release of PRO ASYL

First assessment of PRO ASYL on the draft of BMI (Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs), published today (18.11.2015) PRO ASYL criticizes the draft of BMI (Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs), published today (18.11.2015) as a direct attack on the individual right of asylum. The „Asylum Procedure Acceleration Law“ is supposed to be passed in parliament (Bundestag) until the winter (christmas) holidays. According to this plans nearly every asylum seeker can become subject to an accelerated asylum procedure, which puts into question principals of constitutional democracy. A huge number of asylum seekers can be accused of having destroyed their documents and identification papers purposely, of having made wrong declarations and concealed information on identitiy and citizenship. Normally refugees flee illegally over borders without valid papers. “To deny them a fair asylum procedure because of this fact, is a direct attack on the individual right of asylum”, says secretary of PRO ASYL Günter Burkhardt. In an accelerated procedure flightreasons cannot be identified. Legal protection and guarantee of legal process can be undermined. SPD has rightly so prevented mass imprisonment in transit zones, but now the right of asylum is being knocked out in a cold manner. The legal consequences for the affected are similar. The asylum seekers are supposed to stay in special camps. If the obligation to stay in the camp is violated, then the asylum request can be withdrawed. “Violations against the ‘obligation of residence’ (Residenzpflicht) should never lead to an exclusion from the asylum procedure.”, criticizes Günter Burkhardt. Those who currently move throughout Germany to visit relatives commit a minor breach of law. The planned sanctions which mean a cessation of the asylum procedure are far out of scale. The affected persons are facing deportation, which can mean torture or other human rights abuses for this person. Far in excess of the already passed laws on the 5. november family reunification can be neglected for years. For the so called subsidiary protected refugees a period of two years is supposed to be introduced. In fact that means that families can be separated for up to five years. (…).

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