Germany's refugee politics and its deadly consequences: 1993 to 2003

- Anti Racist Initiative Berlin publishes its annual report documenting deaths and injuries of refugees, in more than 3,400 individual cases, that resulted directly and indirectly from Germany's refugee policy


The following summary is a translation of the introduction to the 11th report by the Berlin based Anti Racist Initiative, "Federal German refugee policy and its deadly consequence(s)". More information is available on www.berlinet.de/ari/index.html

Germany's refugee politics and its deadly consequences: 1993 to 2003

With 50,564 asylum applications, the number of refugees applying for asylum in Germany in 2003 was the lowest since 1984. The same counts for the acceptance rate for refugees in 2003, which has sunk to 1.6. Only 1.7 of applicants received so-called 'small asylum' (no secure refugee status but protection from deportation for political or humanitarian reasons). These "welcome developments" (Interior Minister Otto Schily, 16.1.04) are the result of restrictively implemented asylum law on the one hand and the country's closed borders on the other.

This documentation presents the impact this asylum refusal policy has on refugees. The numbers presented are not on the decline but they remain constant with minor variations (an exception: 55 self-harm and suicide attempts in the deportation prison Berlin-Köpenick in the first four months of 2003 alone). In about 3,400 individual cases, the documentation describes the consequences of this isolation and exclusion policies on refugees: people, who hoped to find protection and security in this country and who were finally destroyed or injured by this system.

There is, for example, Hüseyin Dikec, who on 31 July 2003 poured petrol over himself and set himself on fire in the regional aliens office of Gütersloh in front of the eyes of his wife and five children. The rejected asylum seekers David Kapadnadze und Lewon A., both fathers of a family and living in Germany for four and ten years respectively, killed themselves by burning themselves to death as well. On 16 January 2003, David Mamedov hung himself because his initial recognition as asylum seeker was revoked by an appeal put forward by the federal officer responsible for refugees, leaving him, his wife and his two little children with a pending deportation to Georgia.

THE DOCUMENTATION COVERS THE PERIOD FROM 1.1.1993 TO 31.12.2003

* 145 refugees died on their way to Germany or at the borders. Of these, 113 alone died at Germany's eastern borders*
* 398 refugees were injured during the border crossing, 236 of these at Germany's eastern borders*,
* 121 refugees killed themselves in the face of their pending deportation or died in the attempt to flee their deportation; 47 of these people died in deportation imprisonment,
* 493 refugees have harmed themselves in fear of deportation of in protest against pending deportation (hunger strikes) or have tried to kill themselves,
* 329 of these in deportation imprisonment,
* 5 people died during their deportation and 234 refugees were injured during deportation through the use of force or maltreatment,
* 21 refugees died after deportation to their countries of origin and at least 361 refugees were tortured by police or military after their deportation to their countries of origin,
* 57 refugees disappeared without trace after their deportation,
* 10 refugees died through police measures not related to deportation,
* 309 refugees were injured by police or security personnel,
* 66 people died in (arson) attacks on refugee homes, 363 refugees for injured, sometimes severely, during these attacks,
* 12 people died as a result of racist attacks on the street.

A BALANCE:
302 refugees died through state measures, 78 refugees died as a result of racist attacks.

* the numbers for 2002 and 2003 will increase because the complete official statistics of the Federal Interior Ministry are not available yet.

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The documentation can be ordered from the Anti Racist Initiative Berlin in paper format (DIN A4, 268 pages) and soon as a CD-Rom for 10 EUR (plus 1,60 EUR for postage and packaging). See www.berlinet.de/ari/titel.htm


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