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UNHCR criticises Germany's refugee policy

DDP/The Local · 25 Dec 2009, 10:15

Published: 25 Dec 2009 10:15 GMT+01:00

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Michael Lindenbauer, the representative in Germany and Austria for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), criticised "Germany's regressive attitude in the further development of Europe's asylum system."

Speaking in an interview with news agency DDP, Lindenbauer warned, "Without Germany as a motor, it will be very difficult to achieve real improvements in Europe's asylum system."

Lindenbauer said improvements were essential. What was needed was "a common system with more solidarity and quality in the protection of refugees." Refugees' rights also needed to be strengthened, he added.

The UN official advised the German government to use its experience with Iraqi refugees in order to create a system for helping a regular contingent of refugees to settle in Germany.

Germany has introduced a two-year "breathing space" for refugees to stay in the country, but Lindenbauer said it would be better if a legal system could be found that functioned independent of deadlines.

"In order to avoid an endless chain of deadlines, there needs to be a system to assess whether a return to the country is reasonable – taking in the duration of stay, the age, the integration of the person in question, as well as conditions in the country of origin," he said.

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But the UNCHR representative was positive about the political attitude in Germany towards asylum seekers. "No country in the world is immune from xenophobia," he said. "But in Germany a lot is being done. I see a real consensus between the political parties represented in parliament that the issue needs to be handled sensitively, whatever their varying opinions are." This sets Germany apart from many other countries, Lindenbauer said.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:20 December 25, 2009 by cleavage
The UN proved itself useless and impotent when America invaded Afganistan.
05:03 December 26, 2009 by kaysera
Romani do not in European countries I know have a reputation for making good citizens. Any country has a right to expect people it assists to be civil.
08:37 December 26, 2009 by Frenemy
...Zigeuner! lol ;-)
02:02 December 27, 2009 by Thames
Lets see the United States invades Iraq without being attacked. Disrupts a great part of the middle east leading to the persecution of Christians and other minorities and somehow the UN has the audacity to tell Germany that they need to have a better system for refugees. The United States caused the problem it is our responsiblity to take in refugees from this war that we caused.

If Germany or any other country out of compassion for these poor souls takes some in that is great. But Germany did not attack Iraq the United States did.

Again the UN prooves that it can only get the willing to do what they already were going to do. In short it has no power.
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