Human rights activists warn: If refugees who were tolerated for longer periods of time are deported, this is to be seen as an act of displacement!
Remembering the victims of flight and expulsion (June 20) (Press Release)
On occasion of the Federal Government’s ceremony to commemorate the victims of flight and expulsion at the German Historical Museum in Berlin on Monday, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) – together with Roma refugees from Kosovo who were tolerated in Germany for longer periods of time – protested against the planned deportation of members of this minority group. “We acknowledge the hardship of the German expellees – but we must take their legacy seriously: Everyone who is torn out of his or her surrounding by force will feel uprooted and will be scarred for life. Therefore, it is our duty to protect Roma children who were born and raised here from being expelled. Germany is their home, they must not be deported!” demanded Tilman Zülch, the STP’s Secretary General, during the vigil.
In an appeal to Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, the human rights activists criticized that the Interior Ministers are denying the long-term resident refugee children and adolescents a right to stay, while more than one million other refugees are allowed to come to Germany. There must be a quota solution for the only about 4,400 Roma from Kosovo who have been living in Germany for many years. Permanent resident permits would be a sign of goodwill for the existentially threatened minority group. For Roma children who grew up here, Kosovo is an unknown foreign country. There, the Roma people would be unable to find work; they would hardly be able to find medical care in case of an illness – and their children would be teased and ostracized at school.
Zülch emphasized Germany’s special responsibility for the Roma refugees – not only because of the persecution and extermination of the Sinti and Roma under the Nazi regime, but also because of the German participation in the NATO security force in Kosovo (KFOR). “During and after the war, in 1998/1999, nationalist Albanians expelled more than 100,000 members of the Roma minority from Kosovo before the eyes of German Bundeswehr soldiers who belonged to the KFOR – and 70 of 75 of their villages and neighborhoods were looted and destroyed. Only very few of the houses were rebuilt,” says the STP’s appeal. “We appeal to you to make sure that these refugee children and their families will be able to stay in their home country – Germany – and to be naturalized, just as the Russian-German and the Jewish immigrants.”
You can read the entire appeal (in German) here: