Germany's federal administrative court has rejected granting access of independent asylum counselors to initial asylum reception centers. It said that in order to be allowed to visit an asylum applicant, there would have to be a specific request for counseling from an asylum seeker.
The decision was handed down after the Munich Refugee Council had filed a number of lawsuits to this end, having been denied access to a so-called anchor center in Upper Bavaria.
The organization operates an information bus for refugees, which it has been using to give out legal advice to asylum seekers in Munich and the surrounding areas for more than 20 years.
In 2018, the organization was banned from entering the anchor center facilities by the administrative district of Upper Bavaria with the justification that access without a specific reason could not be grated.
The Munich administrative court confirmed this decision. The Munich Refugee Council then appealed the decision, but the federal administrative court now rejected the appeal.
Read more: Germany: Dozens of charities demand abolition of so-called anchor centers
No legal ground to allow access
The federal administrative court argued that there is no legal right of access for such organizations under either national or European law.
It stated that access granted to legal advisors, counselors or others organizations presupposes a pro-active desire for support expressed by an asylum-seeking person.
The court added, however, that counseling opportunities were important tools for asylum seekers, and that access to counseling would not be "unreasonably impeded" by this decision.
Read more: Asylum procedures not substantially faster at German 'anchor centers'