Asylum Policy in Germany and its Deadly Consequences (1993 – 2015)

aridoc23 years of Research and Documentation of State and Societal Racism. This documentation outlines individual cases in which refugees have been physically harmed. Even in its 23rd year and with consistent updating, the documentation reflects the living conditions to which those seeking protection in the Federal Republic of Germany are constantly exposed. Based on the approximately 8000 individual documented cases, the extent of the prevailing legal, regulatory and social pressures from which very few refugees can emerge unscathed becomes increasingly clear.

The arrival of large numbers of refugees in 2015 afforded racist and Islamophobic groups an opportunity to close ranks with right-wing parties and organisations so to take their racist agenda to the streets, and to render it more socially acceptable in the media. In parallel with this trend, the political class responded accordingly and tightened the existing – already restrictive – asylum laws, railroaded the denial of human rights to refugees, redefined which countries were “safe countries of origin”, while collaborating unabated with other European states on the continued expansion of fortress Europe. The objective of those taking to the streets in protest against the refugees and the governmental policy was – and remains so – the perpetuation of an entrenched non-welcoming culture in Germany: isolationism and the swift deportation of refugees living here.

The Number of Victims in Germany has Multiplied

A life-sized straw doll set aflame, a three-meter-high gallows, a wooden cross in flames or pig heads thrown in front of refugee accommodation are but a sample of the prevailing symbols of hatred. These acts of intimidation also bear witness to the fact that inhibitions towards asylum seekers have fallen dramatically. Hatred manifests itself increasingly in countless attacks on refugee shelters and in physical assaults on refugees in public. The number of violent attacks resulting in injury, or with intent to kill, has risen extremely in some German federal states – and thereby the number of victims. Last year, at least 345 refugees were injured in attacks on residential accommodation and on the street. This figure is three times higher than in 2014 and eleven times higher than in 2013. Last year (2015) at least 107 residents in refugee accommodation were physically harmed through arson attacks, or by objects such as Molotov cocktails, firecrackers, stones, bottles, metal balls, New Year’s Eve firecrackers being thrown or shot at occupied refugee shelters and homes, as well as by direct assaults in their living quarters. Compared with 2014, this number is 2.7-times higher, and 15.3-times higher compared with 2013. At least 238 refugees were injured, some seriously, in public spaces, in attacks on the street, on buses, at bus stops, in trams or supermarkets. These figures represent a three-fold increase on 2014, and a ten-fold increase on 2013.

In addition to these casualties due to racist attacks, the 6 documented cases of suicide and 94 of self-harm / suicide attempts by refugees in 2015 expose the gruesome continuity of the ongoing state pressure on those seeking protection. The existential fear of deportation, the many traumatizing years of waiting and the destructive living conditions under the asylum laws have thwarted the refugees’ hopes of living in safety.

The Documentation spans the period from 1.1.1993 to 31.12.2015.

188 refugees killed themselves in the face of their impending deportation or died trying to escape from deportation,

64 of them while in custody pending deportation,

1546 refugees injured themselves out of fear of deportation, in protest against the impending deportation (risk hunger strikes) or tried to commit suicide,

665 of them in custody pending deportation,

5 refugees died during deportation and 498 refugees were injured by compulsory measures or mistreatment during their deportation,

34 refugees died in their country of origin after their deportation, and 602 refugees were mistreated and tortured by the police or military in their country of origin or were at the risk of their lives due to severe illnesses,

73 refugees disappeared without a trace after their deportations,

198 refugees died on their way to the Federal Republic of Germany or at its borders, 131 of them died at the German Eastern border, 3 people were driven off course on the river Neiße and have been missing ever since,

644 refugees suffered injuries crossing the borders,

343 of them at the German Eastern border,

21 refugees died because of physical force used by police or guards either in detention, in custody, while being arrested or deported, on the streets, in governmental agencies or in refugee accommodation – at least 996 were injured.

20 refugees died through neglected assistance

77 refugees were killed in fires, attacks on refugee accommodation centres or dangers in these centres,

1232 refugees were injured, in part severely, 22 refugees died through racist attacks on the street and 1167 people were injured.

Since 1993 at least 466 refugees have died as a result of measures taken by the German Federal Republic – 99 people died through racist attacks and through being accommodated in camps (i.e. attacks, fires).

The documentation contains three books. All books are available for 30 € plus 5,00 € for shipping & packing. Book I (1993 – 2004) 10 € for 354 pages – Book II (2005 – 2011) 11 € for 260 pages – Book III (2012 – 2015) 12 € for 216 pages plus 1,80 € each for shipping & packing. The 22nd edition currently available online: http://www.ari-berlin.org/doku/titel.htm

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