Refugees: Humanitarian admission program for vulnerable Afghans

Afghans who are particularly at risk will in future be able to find protection in Germany through a new federal admissions program.

Refugees: Humanitarian admission program for vulnerable Afghans

Afghans who are particularly at risk will in future be able to find protection in Germany through a new federal admissions program. About 1,000 people are to enter the country each month via the program, as the Interior and Foreign Ministry announced on Monday in Berlin. This corresponds to the previous magnitude in the past few months. The SPD, Greens and FDP had already agreed on the project in the coalition agreement.

Especially since the militant Islamic Taliban seized power in August 2021, former employees of foreign armed forces and aid organizations, so-called local workers, as well as human rights activists have had to expect persecution. According to official information, almost 26,000 local workers and particularly vulnerable Afghans and their families have been taken in in Germany so far. So far, about 38,100 Afghans have received commitments - about two-thirds of whom have already entered the country.

Afghan nationals in Afghanistan who have campaigned for women's and human rights or who are particularly at risk because of their work in the judiciary, politics, media, education, culture, sport or science should benefit. Also people who are persecuted because of their gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, their religion or because of special circumstances of the individual case.

Recording capacities firmly in view

Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) explained that in comparison to other EU countries, Germany had by far the most local staff and Afghans who were particularly at risk. Regarding the size of the planned future admissions, she said: "We see the great burden on the municipalities due to the large number of refugees that we have already taken in this year. We have our eyes firmly on the ability to receive and integrate."

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) stressed that the task ahead was a mammoth one. "Explaining that we are taking in people is one thing - making sure that they can then come safely from Afghanistan to Germany is another. It will be a joint effort to ensure that we also achieve the goals that we have set ourselves to have." She promised: "We will not let go."

The federal government worked with several associations and non-governmental organizations to design the admissions programme. Since the German representations in Afghanistan are closed, the security screening of the people who are to benefit from the program poses a challenge. The cooperation with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which is common in similar cases, is also is not possible, said a spokesman for the Foreign Office. Therefore, among other things, civil society organizations should suggest people for admission. The decision is then made by the federal government. Another difficulty for some is leaving Afghanistan. Because only people who are currently in Afghanistan should be admitted.

Planned to start soon

According to the spokesman, the first commitments should be made in the next few weeks. But even until the new program is fully operational, people should still be able to come to Germany.

The Green politician Julian Pahlke said: "Even if every single person who is admitted counts, I would have liked a larger scope that is not limited to the total number." The member of the Bundestag demanded: "The program needs to be expanded to include people at risk who have already fled to neighboring countries."

The left-wing faction's refugee policy spokeswoman, Clara Bünger, called the program bureaucratic and unambitious. She, too, criticized the scale: "For many people who fear for their lives and their safety in Afghanistan, it will likely be months or even years before they can be accepted for Germany." People died while waiting to be evacuated.

Federal government on the admission program in Afghanistan

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