A child is not just a child (nd-aktuell.de)

Children who come to Germany without parents, like these boys brought to Hanover from Greek refugee camps, still have little chance of bringing siblings who have stayed in their country of origin to Germany.

Photo: Imago/LocalPic

Many of the children and young people who live in Germany once fled here with their parents or entered the country ‘illegally’. And although they have often spent most of their lives here, they are often denied prospects in this country. The reason: They live with tolerance status because the applications for asylum submitted by their families have been rejected.

While most young people in this country celebrate their 18th and thus coming of age with a big party, these young people have a different birthday present in store: They are often asked to “voluntarily leave the country”, combined with the threat of deportation, should they do not follow it. This despite the fact that they grew up here, have a perfect command of the German language, have their friends here and generally haven’t seen their country of origin since arriving in Germany. Because they are also not allowed to leave the country with tolerance status.

Many young people don’t even have their loved ones around. They came to the Federal Republic alone and have not seen their brothers and sisters, and often their parents too, in some cases for years. On the occasion of World Children’s Day on Monday, more than 20 organizations recalled that the traffic light coalition promised in its coalition agreement to change something here and to enable these young people to bring their siblings over in a joint statement.

“We expect the federal government to give top priority to its promises to implement the fundamental right to family life for refugees,” said Beat Wehrle, spokesman for the children’s charity terre des hommes (tdh), which is one of the initiators of the appeal. . “In this way, the government would signal, in time for World Children’s Day, that the well-being and rights of refugee children are important to them.” For many children and young people, separation from those closest to them is a heavy psychological burden that can have negative consequences for their further development. “Both international law and the constitution oblige Germany to protect the right to a family and to prioritize the welfare of the child,” says Sophia Eckert, flight and migration officer at tdh. She reminded that siblings belong to the “nuclear family”. In addition, the “relationship between siblings” is subject to special legal protection in German family law.

The declaration, which is signed by tdh, Caritas and Diakonie, Paritätisches Gesamtverband and Arbeiterwohlfahrt, Amnesty International, the German Red Cross, several children’s charities and various legal associations, among others, also calls for the project to be finally implemented, including children. from after Germany to allow adults who have fled Germany to join them after their parents have entered the Federal Republic of Germany. So far they have been rejected.

The organizations also call for the legal right of persons entitled to subsidiary protection for family reunification to be finally restored. Most refugees from Syria and many other war refugees have this status. The grand coalition suspended the right to family reunification for this group of refugees in 2016. Since 2018, only 1,000 people a month have been allowed into Germany as part of family reunification, and the approval process usually takes many years. The organizations therefore call for the administrative obstacles to be removed when applying for a visa, and for the waiting time in German diplomatic missions to be limited to three months. They also require that family members coming to Germany no longer have to prove German language skills before entering the country.

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