19.07.2012

PRO ASYL wel­co­mes the Ger­man Federal Court deci­si­on, deeming the amount of soci­al bene­fits that asyl­um see­kers recei­ve uncon­sti­tu­tio­nal. At pre­sent, asyl­um see­kers only recei­ve 60 per cent of what is con­s­i­de­red to be the mar­gin of sub­sis­tence in Ger­ma­ny. “This judgment from the Court puts an end to years of injus­ti­ce. Refu­gees are not second class human beings”, com­men­ted Gün­ter Burk­hardt, PRO ASYL Secreta­ry Gene­ral. The Court ruled that the rele­vant legis­la­ti­on has to be over­hau­led, in order to enab­le refu­gees to live in digni­ty. The Con­sti­tu­ti­on pro­tects human digni­ty, not only the digni­ty of Ger­man citi­zens.

The Con­sti­tu­tio­nal Court has cla­ri­fied that the bene­fits gran­ted to asyl­um see­kers, vio­la­te the basic right to a huma­ne level of exis­tence. “Human digni­ty can­not be com­pro­mi­sed due to migra­ti­on poli­tics”, the Court sta­ted. It deci­ded that the­re will be a tran­si­tio­nal regu­la­ti­on, which will align the bene­fits that asyl­um see­kers recei­ve to the same level of soci­al wel­fa­re payments for Ger­man citi­zens. The Court poin­ted out that in order to recal­cu­la­te the rates the government will have to take the con­cre­te needs of peop­le into account. 

PRO ASYL very much wel­co­mes this deci­si­on. Howe­ver, an increa­se in soci­al bene­fits for asyl­um see­kers will not be enough to crea­te decent recep­ti­on con­di­ti­ons. PRO ASYL deman­ds that the cur­rent legis­la­ti­on gover­ning mate­ri­al recep­ti­on con­di­ti­ons is scrap­ped. Refu­gees should not be forced to live in camps any lon­ger. The degra­ding prac­tice to fob them off with food packa­ges has to stop.

The rele­vant legis­la­ti­on stems from a time when deter­rence of refu­gees at all costs was the gui­ding princip­le of Ger­man poli­tics. Whoever wants to con­ti­nue the­se poli­ci­es today, humi­lia­tes peop­le who­se pro­tec­tion needs are obvious – refu­gees from Syria, Afgha­ni­stan, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Soma­lia or Eri­trea. Peop­le who are forced to flee from the­se coun­tries will not be deter­red by sub­stan­dard food packa­ges or shab­by accom­mo­da­ti­on. “The logic of deter­rence does not work. It degra­des refu­gees and end­an­gers their men­tal health”, said Gün­ter Burk­hardt.

PRO ASYL pro­vi­ded legal aid for the appel­lants in this case.  

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