• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Berlin 'neglecting refugees' human rights': Amnesty
People demonstrate against refugees in Erfurt, Thuringia, in October 2015. Photo: DPA

Berlin 'neglecting refugees' human rights': Amnesty

The Local · 24 Feb 2016, 10:49

Published: 24 Feb 2016 10:49 GMT+01:00

The NGO's annual report criticizes new laws which have increased police powers to detain asylum seekers, especially those whose applications have been rejected, and cut benefits – including healthcare. The report describes the laws as falling "short of human rights standards".

Germany's "readiness to take these people in was a big contribution to helping those in need," Selmin Çalışkan, general secretary of Amnesty's Germany branch, said at an event marking the release of the report.

"But this refugee-friendly behaviour from the government is no longer there," she warned.

Çalışkan also slammed Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent efforts to keep migrants in Turkey rather than allow them to travel on into Europe as undermining Germany's support for human rights.

"The government of [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan regularly infringes on human rights. The federal government must address this when it's negotiating with Ankara," she said.

Beyond Turkey, the federal government is also pressuring other countries to take deportees whose asylum applications have been rejected – including states where Amnesty says their human rights may be in danger, such as Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, Çalışkan noted.

On the other hand Amnesty praised Merkel for taking a leading role in Europe in accepting refugees in late summer 2015.

Beyond refugees

Germany also earned praise from the human rights NGO on a number of other fronts.

Story continues below…

Courts sentenced Rwandan war criminals to tough sentences and overturned a ban on wearing religious symbols at work, while the government introduced new standards covering arms sales abroad.

But there was sharp criticism on "failure to investigate the racial motivation of offenses" – such as those of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground (NSU) group – and of failure to adequately investigate allegations of police violence.

The federal government in Berlin would not immediately comment on the report on Wednesday morning when contacted by The Local.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
No injuries after blast near Bavarian migrant centre
A sign at the Zirndorf migrant centre. Photo: DPA

A suitcase, likely packed with aerosol cans, has blown up near a migrant centre on the outskirts of Nuremberg, causing no injuries, police confirm.

Not your average student digs: 'amazing' plastic bubble
Photo: DPA

Could this wacky experiment be the future of student housing?

Police settle train violence over smelly feet
Not the feet in question. Photo: Caitlin Regan/Flickr

A fellow passenger's foot odour proved too much for one traveller to stomach.

How Berliners are responding to the Bavaria attacks
Photo: DPA

Is fear of terrorism creeping up on the capital?

Munich gunman was far-right racist: media reports
Photo: DPA

According to research by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the Munich gunman was proud to have been born on the same day as Hitler and hated Turks and Arabs.

Ansbach suicide attack
Ansbach bomber ‘influenced’ by third person: officials
Photo: DPA

Officials in Bavaria have said that the man who blew himself up in an apparent Islamist attack on Sunday was influenced by an as yet unknown person.

What is the link between the attacks in Germany last week?
Police on guard in Munich. Photo: DPA

And how likely are 'copycat' attacks?

Rights experts call for calm after string of violent attacks
Bavaria has called for soldiers to protect the German border. Photo: DPA

Human rights groups and legal experts are warning the government to react responsibly to the attacks and rampages which have taken place in Germany in recent days.

France church attacker had been arrested in Germany
Photo: DPA

A neighbour described the man as a "ticking time bomb".

Dutch join hunt for German terrorists-turned-outlaws
From left to right: Ernst-Volker Staub, Daniela Klette and Burkhard Garweg. Photo: DPA.

Dutch police on Tuesday told people to be on the lookout for three German far-left militants, at large for decades and suspected of a string of recent heists.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
11,129
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd