Brief (depressing) update on the Berlin refugee situation #richardarmitage

Following up here on events at one of the institutions Richard Armitage supported earlier this year — I’m not going to translate the entire article, but last night the Berlin police were called to one of the Berliner Stadtmission’s refugee shelters (not sure if this is the one Armitage visited or not; they have two or three) to arrest a young man on charges of sexual abuse of a minor; during the arrest, another man (probably the father of the victim) attacked the young man who was arrested, and was shot to death by the police. (Judicial killings by the police have become par for the course in most of the U.S. these days, but they are still unusual in Germany.) The Berlin city government reiterated the intense need to move refugees out of these shelters (this one in particular is essentially just a very large space — no individual rooms).

Suzy’s been talking about the frustrations and dangers of leaving refugees in shelters for long periods of time in terms of lost energy, lost opportunities, and the way that life as a refugee changes people. Here’s an additional problem — crowding people together under these circumstances in a situation where they are not integrated in a community and have nothing to lose facilitates crimes, particularly in a situation where the residents are presumably all traumatized and thus more likely either to be potential perpetrators or to be less capable of protecting themselves.

Thanks to Suse for the link to this information.

The news report that woke me this morning: war crimes being committed in Aleppo as the Assad government attempts to subdue the city.

~ by Servetus on September 28, 2016.

12 Responses to “Brief (depressing) update on the Berlin refugee situation #richardarmitage”

  1. Very depressing indeed, that was the same on Monday when alongside horrible news from Aleppo we had the French president after a visit to Calais say that they will dismantle the camp completely😦 2 neighbouring governments showing that they don’t care a jot about the lives of these people😦 It’s shameful.

  2. The news about Aleppo are terrifying, frustrating and contributes a
    feeling of hopelessness and helplessness.
    The situation in the refugee camps are much better than in Aleppo but the waiting for the decision of the Bundesamt is frustrating too and a lot of them get angry and depressed😦 Humanity is different….

  3. Truly tragic and terrible. In other refugee shelters, women and children can live separately from men because under conditions such as these they just aren’t safe and rapes or sexual abuse occur. These things just should not happen and it is possible to provide better protection.

    I don’t blame the police. German police rarely shoot and if they do, they always have to face some kind of checks and disciplinary action. It’s very different from the US.

    With regard to what you write about which shelter it is: If I understand some texts I read correctly it wasn’t the place Armitage visited but another one run by Berliner Stadmission.

    • I’m not in favor of what is happening in the US by any means but it is incorrect to imply that police who shoot people in the US do not face checks or disciplinary action.

  4. How awful. I’ve just returned from travels with now way to catch up on news. This is shocking, but as you mentioned, it is something the authorities in a way expect(ed) to happen given the circumstances. Very sad news again. It is high time the EU (and a lot more countries) do the right (and decent) thing for the refugees…

  5. Horrific news, on so many levels. Frankly, I am shocked that the police had to resort to shooting the father in order to keep him from harming the alleged rapist. And on the whole, the article confirms what I have been thinking for years: Herding refugees and/or asylum seekers together in inhumane camps and mass accommodation only deteriorates an already difficult situation. Housing people individually is the only alternative, imo.

    • There were problems with the population at Friedland in the mid-1990s, as I remember, and those people had access to individual rooms separated by family, if I remember correctly.The issue there was that people go out of there faster if there was some organization working on their behalf that had social workers, etc. (It made the Jüdische Gemeinde very popular for a whie, even among non-Jews). I imagine from what Suzy says that the situation today is totally different/ overloaded.

      • No, that is not what I meant. I do not mean single rooms in mass camps. What I mean is, avoiding the ghettoisation of refugees by decentralising housing. Individual rooms or flats all over the place, not large camps. But I understand that that is more expensive than mass accommodation.

        • Yes, I understood what you meant. I was saying that even in a situation where there were individual rooms, there were problems (let alone the mass housing situation in this situation). So you see, I was actually agreeing with you.

        • Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could house them that way? Spread out, living like everyone else, and able to maintain some self respect and respect.

          • They can, probably, it just takes a lot of work and a lot of cooperation. Germany has settled huge numbers of refugees or returnees all through the last sixty years. But usually in order to leave a setting like this they need some kind of official recognition of their refugee status and/or right to remain, and permission to work. (I’m not up on all the details but having had to obtain residence permits in Germany myself repeatedly I know it’s complex.) In a normal year, the people who end up staying in these huge housing situations are those who have a very low level of official recognition (like an “Ankunftsnachweis” — the government says, okay, we know you’re here — or a “Duldung,” which is a status that says, essentially, you should be deported but we’ll tolerate you here for a limited period of time). They aren’t allowed to work. Once they get a slightly better recognition status, they can get access both to better benefits (housing subsidies, advanced educational opportunities, work permits) and usually in that situation, they can eventually leave these mass shelters — but only if they can find someone who will rent to them at the amount of the subsidy. This can be difficult, in some areas due to the price of housing, but lso because there are landlords who don’t want to rent to refugees. A lot of this has been covered in my ongoing translation of Suzy’s reports about her refugees’ progress through the system.

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