In a letter to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, prominent aid organizations have slammed Berlin's Afghan refugee admission program as "extremely questionable in terms of organization and content." The aid groups warned that Germany's selection process is "in danger of failing" and have threatened to withdraw from talks.
Several aid organizations including Amnesty International, Pro Asyl, Terre des Hommes, and Reporters Without Borders have criticized the German government's Afghan refugee admission program.
"In our view, the selection process for the federal admission program, as currently conceived, is in danger of failing," the aid groups stated in a letter to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser.
"In the form envisaged so far, we consider the federal admission program to be extremely questionable in terms of organization and content," added the letter, obtained by AFP news agency on Monday (September 19).
The aid organizations have long expressed concerns that Germany's planned refugee selection process following the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021 will not help all those who work for the Bundeswehr or other German institutions in Afghanistan. The organizations also fear that Germany's planned counseling and coordination centers will not be adequately staffed.
Rights organizations threaten withdrawal from talks
The admission program is designed to accommodate vulnerable groups such as human rights defenders, journalists, activists and people employed by state institutions, such as prosecutors and judges. But the aid organizations said the admissions program can only be effective for such vulnerable groups if Germany reforms its local staff procedure, continues issuing humanitarian visas and accelerates family reunification processes.
Thousands of Afghans are still having to wait for an appointment to apply for a German visa to join their families, who have already left the country.
"These serious substantive concerns, which have been repeatedly raised, have not been adequately addressed to date," the letter stated. Last year, Germany's coalition government agreed to "simplify the admission of people at high risk and ensure a safe application channel" for admission into Germany.
The rights organizations said that while Germany's publicly funded coordination center to handle requests for admission is "a good, necessary step," they stressed that Germany must create more positions to evaluate reports of risk and danger. Other vulnerable groups such as LGBTQ+ people must also receive special consideration, they said.
"We ask that the content-related and structural concerns presented be raised, so that we do not have to withdraw from this process," the letter urged.
Germany employs 250 new local staff under Taliban
Separately, the German government has once again begun hiring hundreds of local workers in Afghanistan.
According to German weekly newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Germany's state development agency (GIZ) has already employed more than 250 local staff for development cooperation since August 2021.
As of the end of July, Germany has helped over 17,000 former Afghan workers and their family members leave the country. Among them are 2,250 former local employees of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and more than 8,000 of their family members, Welt reported.
With KNA, epd and AFP