The suicide of a Georgian national at a deportation center in Germany has raised questions about the quality of care at such facilities, especially for those with mental illnesses. Politicians are now demanding answers to how the suicide could have happened.
The apparent suicide of a 41-year-old Georgian man being held at a deportation center near the city of Büren earlier this week has raised questions about the quality of care at the facility. The migrant, who was awaiting deportation, had reportedly been diagnosed with a mental illness but was not deemed to be suicidal, according to his medical records.
The local charity "Hilfe für Menschen in Abschiebehaft Büren" (Büren support for people in deportation detention) said that the man had hanged himself. Local authorities did not confirm any circumstances surrounding the suicide.
A few days after the suicide, politicians from the integration committee of the provincial parliament in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) debated reports of "catastrophic" and "chaotic" conditions at the deportation center in Büren.
Integration expert Ibrahim Yetim from the opposition Social Democrats (SPD) told the KNA news agency that the responsible local branch of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees had ignored repeated reports of rioting and self-harm at the deportation center, as well as rumors about detainees secretly being given tranquilizers there.
"The sad news of this suicide earlier this week shows the extent of catastrophic conditions at NRW's only deportation facility," Yetim said.
Greens Party demands further inquiry
Greens Party spokesperson Berivan Aymaz added that people who showed signs of mental illness didn't belong in such facilities. "They need to be taken care of professionally and be placed somewhere where they have access to professional help," Aymaz told WDR news.
The Greens Party in NRW also demanded that the state government examine whether all appropriate checks had been carried out to determine whether the Georgian national was suitable for detention pending his deportation.
The "Hilfe für Menschen in Abschiebehaft Büren" organization also stressed that people in detention at the facility had to be given better access to psychological counselling, adding that given conditions at the facility, the suicide didn't come as a surprise. They also highlighted other concerns, such as the fact that some of the detainees have to spend several hours a day in solitary confinement. The organization also said that many of the detainees in Büren were at risk of committing suicide.