Where is the scandal?

An alleged corruption scandal at the Bremen BAMF becomes the legitimizing basis for tens of thousands of reviews of positive asylum decisions and a means of harassing those entitled to protection.

Press release of the Refugee Initiative Bremen from 2.05.2018

While dinner invitations are generally regarded as a sign of sociability or as a standardized procedure of harmless networking, they can be raised to the level of decisive evidence for the suspicion of “corruption” – if they are connected with facts that do not fit into the prevailing discourse.

In such a discourse, the populist and uninformed indignation around the Bremen BAMF has been breaking out for a few days now, when higher protection quotas provoke the anger and not, for example, the high rejection rates of persecuted and endangered people and their deportation to war and torture states. This increasingly racist discourse on asylum policy is certainly not about maintaining the correctness of the rule of law in administrative procedures, but about a targeted attack on the last vestiges of the right to asylum – and a shift in discourse to the right. It is nothing new that Bremen, which has higher recognition rates for some countries of origin compared to other federal states, has long been criticized by asylum policy hardliners.

“For most politicians it seems to be clear that asylum procedures have to end with a rejection – if everything is above board,” says Manuela Schneider from the Refugee Initiative Bremen. “The asylum process is designed and in some states is conducted in such a way that people receive a rejection despite their persecution and are threatened with deportation – that’s the scandal.”

The actions of the former head of the Bremen BAMF, who has recently come under public criticism, could be based on her expertise in the situation of Yezidis in Iraq and Syria. In this respect, the granting of a protection status could simply be derived from the fundamental right of protection against political persecution. The brutality with which Yazidis were abused, raped, enslaved and murdered in the course of the IS advance was not only the trigger for a media-mediated horror. Rather, this genocide led to a high probability of Yazidis being granted international protection status in Bremen as well as in other BAMF field offices between 2015 and 2017.

“A senior BAMF staff member who ensured unbureaucratic substantive checks or fast procedures and did not generally refuse to expose endangered protection seekers to further persecution due to “lack of jurisdiction” deserves our respect in this respect,” said Manuela Schneider.

The fact that the investigations against the Bremen BAMF are now being used as a pretext for the renewed review of tens of thousands of arbitrarily selected positive procedures, that many people in need of protection are being massively unsettled and possibly deprived of their rights – that is another scandal.