Germany sued by 17,000 refugees over partial refugee status


Thousands of refugees have sued the German state for refusing them to give full status, with the vast majority winning their cases, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper has reported.

More than 17,000 refugees, of whom 15,000 are Syrians have taken the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) to the administrative courts over this decision, with 6,000 cases passing through the courts in August alone. Under the Geneva Convention on refugees, German administrative courts ruled that they deserve "full protection in over 90 percent of cases," as reported by The Local's Germany website.

In the face of an increasing number of refugees, the German authorities give a qualified form of asylum known as "subsidiary protection" from the BAMF. Despite being safe from deportation with subsidiary protection, compared to those with full status, they still face considerable disadvantages.

In a bid to deal with lowering support for the conservative government, Germany toughened its stance on refugees through preparing a new draft legislation that will make it harder for migrants denied asylum to stay in Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said previously that Germany needed to make a national effort to deport migrants who do not have the right to stay in the country.

After an influx of almost 900,000 migrants last year, some Germans fear their country is being overrun by foreigners. Merkel has attracted criticism for her open-door refugee policy and her conservative party has lost some support to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Germany saw 890,000 asylum-seekers arrive last year. The influx has slowed drastically, with only 213,000 newcomers arriving in this year's first nine months.

Merkel, whose long-stellar approval ratings have taken a dive amid the refugee crisis, came under fresh fire over her pro-immigration policy stance. The German chancellor is suffering from low popularity, cutting a lonely figure in her struggle for resisting pressure to change refugee policy. Even though Merkel defends her immigration policy and calls on all political parties to fight against xenophobic and Islamophobic rhetoric, her support is gradually diminishing in the German parliament and among political parties. Her party suffered an electoral blow in the Berlin state elections, two weeks after being relegated to third place behind the anti-immigration AfD party in the regional election in her constituency of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. The AfD has capitalized on widespread discontent about the arrival of the large number of migrants, which it argues resulted from Merkel's promise of sanctuary to Syrian refugees.

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