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Asylum centre, Bamberg

Bavaria changes legal designation of asylum centres to ‘dangerous’

The Bavarian government has now classified all asylum centres as "dangerous" by law, meaning that such centres can legally be searched at any time without a warrant.

Published: December 7, 2017, 7:26 am

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    Bavaria’s Integration Act regarding asylum housing and transit centres was changed because police continued to be called out every day to deal with serious crimes.

    From now on, migrant centres will be classified in the same way as gambling dens and brothels.

    The legal framework has been tightened after a surge in violent migrant crime, including the burning down of a migrant centre in Bamberg, which killed one and injured 15 others.

    On a daily basis the police have deal with serious crimes being committed in and around asylum seeker accommodation. Often it is even migrants who become victims of other migrants.

    At the end of October, a 19-year-old Iraqi stabbed a fellow asylum seeker he had never met before in his life in a centre less than 100 meters away from the Oberpfälzer police station.

    A rejected asylum seeker from Mali had strangled and killed a prostitute in her apartment in the same area.

    Bavarian police will no longer be barred from entering migrant facilities and will be able to demand ID cards from residents, a move they say will prevent undocumented migrants from hiding or preparing criminal acts.

    Anyone living in or even approaching the asylum centre can be asked at any time to show their IDs. Also searches are possible without a previous announcement or court order. The police can enter private residential areas at any time, without warning.

    The ministry of the Interior does not believe that this violates human rights, Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann announced.

    But human rights activists have criticised the move. Their accusation: recognized asylum seekers and those in need of protection are placed under general suspicion by the new measure.

    The Nuremberg lawyer Yunus Ziyal has written an opinion against the far-reaching powers of the police around the asylum centres. “All the people who live here have the same right to do so unmolested by others,” says the lawyer. “No population group – and asylum seekers are a population group – it deserves to be put under general suspicion on a flat rate and beyond concrete evidence.”

    The Nuremberg lawyer considers the classification as a scandal. Ziyal says the new law drives crime statistics even higher, “because the asylum seekers hardly understand what it is about, a horror!”

    Alexander Thal from the Bavarian Refugee Council also joined in the chorus. “Refugee shelters are first of all living space for refugees.” According to Thal, this classification “stigmatizes the sufferers and places them under general suspicion.”

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