Friday, May 13, 2016
German refugee shelters facing Sexual Assault and hate crime problem.
'I Can Hardly Breathe Here': German Refugee Shelters Face Sexual Assault Problem. (Spiegel).
Cases of sexual assault in German refugee shelters are on the rise, with women and children facing the greatest danger. Despite pleas for help from the government, Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition has done little to offer additional protections.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition is failing to provide protection to exactly those people who need it most: women, children and minorities who have fled their homes.
The government's commissioner responsible for the issue of sexual violence against children, Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, is currently dealing with 40 cases of sexual assault on children inside refugee hostels in recent months, including cases of rape and even genital mutilation performed on a small girl.
The number of unreported cases, Rörig fears, is likely much higher: He says that many refugees are afraid of approaching the authorities due to worries that doing so may adversely affect their asylum applications. "How many cases are still needed before something changes?" he asks. "Fifty? One hundred? A thousand?"
Back in 2013, the EU issued a directive to member states requiring them to "take into consideration gender and age-specific concerns and the situation of vulnerable persons in relation to applicants within the premises and accommodation centers." The directive also specifically mentioned "appropriate measures to prevent assault and gender-based violence" in addition to access to "psychological treatment or care." Thus far, however, the German government has been ignoring the directive.
It's not entirely for lack of trying. Last fall, the Family Ministry in Berlin proposed the inclusion of protections for women, children and minorities in a draft law addressing refugees and asylum-seekers in Germany. But the Interior Ministry, under the leadership of Thomas de Maizière, a member of Merkel's Christian Democrats, removed the passage prior to the law's approval early this year.
The passage was allegedly struck so as to save German states from extra work. But Interior Ministry sources say the real reason was to discourage further refugees from coming by way of more restrictive asylum policies.
In addition to women, minorities are also the victims of attacks. Boris Fadeyev relates how several men stormed into his room in a Berlin refugee hostel three months ago. One of them yelled: "Do you smell that? It stinks like shit here, you fag!" Read the full story here.