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Merkel pleads for more humanity in refugee debate

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Merkel pleads for more humanity in refugee debate
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA
12:28 CEST+02:00
During a speech in Berlin on Wednesday evening, Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed to Germans to put themselves into the shoes of people fleeing war and persecution.

“People’s personal stories show us that fleeing from home isn’t something abstract - it is about human lives,” Merkel said during a speech at a memorial ceremony for refugees from the Second World War.

“The vast majority of those fleeing are victims,” she added.

Merkel went on to say that anyone who has not personally experienced being expelled from their homes can barely understand the suffering involved “but we can attempt to understand it.”

“We can listen and learn so that no new suffering comes about because we live in denial, or ignore what is going on.”

The Chancellor is currently embroiled in a bitter dispute with her Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who wants Germany to pursue a much tougher approach to asylum seekers.

Seehofer has already ensured that Germany caps the number of refugees who arrive in the country at 200,000 per year. He is now also trying to push through a new border policy which would allow Germany to turn back refugees at the border.

Merkel, in an apparent jibe at Seehofer, on Wednesday evening described migration as “a European challenge”.

The Chancellor has stuck to her position that Germany should not seek to alter its border policies without first coming to agreement with the EU members where refugees enter the bloc.

“It isn’t good if one [state] makes a decision that come at a cost for others,” she said during her speech.

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