Amnesty International has called on Germany to take in more Iraqi refugees, regardless of any EU-level decisions on the issue.
On Sunday, the human rights organization accused the world’s richest nations of shirking their responsibility towards refugees from war-torn Iraq. In a report entitled “Rhetoric and reality: the Iraqi refugee crisis,” Amnesty said that governments “have done little or nothing to help Iraqi refugees, failing in their moral, political and legal duty to share responsibility for them.”
The report, citing data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that some 4.7 million Iraqi refugees have now fled their homes.
German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble (CDU) is currently working on an EU-wide initiative to take in Iraqi refugees. EU interior ministers discussed the issue at their meeting on June 5, but offered no concrete proposals. Amnesty is now appealing to Germany’s federal states to open their doors to Iraqi refugees and not wait for an EU decision.
Germany’s response to the Iraqi refugee crisis took on controversial overtones when Schaeuble launched an appeal for the states to give preference to Iraqi Christians. Opposition politicians warned against preferential asylum status for Christians and stressed that asylum should be offered to Iraq’s most vulnerable refugees.