Public Meeting on Friday 15 November 2002

at 14.00 before the Red Rathaus (Rotes Rathaus) in Berlin

Fight for the right to remain

Public Meeting on Friday 15 November 2002 at 14.00 before the Red Rathaus (Rotes Rathaus) in Berlin
afterwards Demonstration to the Senatsverwaltung für Inneres, Molkenmarkt/Jüdenstr (Berlin Ministry of Interior)
via Karl Liebknecht Str /Alexanderplatz/Rathaustr/Spreeufer
A right to remain for those migrants and refugees who have only been ‚tolerated‘ in Germany for many years (a Duldung is the least secure status granted to someone present in Germany. It carries with it very few rights and must be renewed every 3 – 6 months) must be part of any serious Integration policy. The potential of these people must used – in the interest of this society and of the people themselves.

The approximately 230,000 Migrants and Refugees in the Federal Republic with such a status are virtually without rights, living in humiliating conditions. Although officially liable to deportation, many are here for years, some for the larger part of their lives.

In Berlin there are about 23.000 refugees in this position, including 15.000 from the former ugoslaia – including many Roma -, as well as 3000 palestinian refugees from Lebanon. Most have already been here for five years or longer, they have school-going children who have been born in Germany. The right to work, training and accommodation  is frequently ignored by the responsible Berlin authorities because of their insecure status.

The new migration law threatens to subject these people to ‚chain certification‘ rather than ‚chain toleration‘, which will mean they have even fewer rights: regardless of how long they have been here, they will not be allowed any form of work or training, and will be subject to accommodation in ‚removal centres‘ (similar to the proposed accommodation centres in Britain), and deportation within notification in advance.

Because of the length of residence these people must receive a right to remain, which will secure their residence and allow them equal participation in this society. Whoever sees integration as a necessary and sensible element of migration policy must first of all free those who are already here and part of this society from their current ‚rightless‘ status and open up the possibility of a dignified, humane and equal existence.

The Berlin Refugee Council, together with Pro Asyl, welfare organisations, the DGB (German TUC), human rights organisations and the Refugee Councils of other German states demands that:

Whoever has lived here for a long time must be allowed to remain and has a right to be integrated. We demand an unbureaucratic and generous granting of the right remain for all those who up to now have a ‚Duldung‘, asylum seekers, and all other migrants and refugees who are subject to deportation:

  • Single people who have been in Germany for 5 years,
  • Families and children who have been here 3 years,
  • unaccompanied minors who have been here 2 years,
  • traumatised war victims with immediate effect,
  • victims of racist attacs with immediate effect.

The right to remain should promote rather than hinder integration. The residence status must enable people to find and move into accommodation, to work and to train and permit them access to language courses, and child benefit.

We demand that the Berlin Senate works for a generous federal Right to Remain and in Berlin to grant those who are likely to benefit from such a right temporary protection from deportation. 

Berlin Refugee Council
11. November 2002

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