Germany’s migration commissioner on integration

EPA/CARMEN JASPERSEN

Migration exhibition in Bremerhaven.

Germany’s migration commissioner on integration


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The German government’s commissioner on migration, refugees and integration has called for increased protection against discrimination and the right for immigrants to vote in local elections.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Commissioner Aydun Özoguz presented “Together in Diversity: A Guiding Concept and Agenda for a Society of Immigration”.

The 50-page study, which was drafted by 38 experts on the topic, calls for a “society of immigration” and flies in the face of right-wing politicians and the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

“We have to recognise that we live in a time of contradictions that can’t be easily escaped,” Özoguz, a lawmaker for the Social Democrats (SPD), said at the presentation ceremony in Berlin. “To name one example: One in two Germans support growing diversity, while at the same time one in three demand greater nationalism and want to exclude immigrants.”

Co-author Farhad Dilmaghani, of the advocacy group Deutsch Plus, said the report was the first of its kind to include input from people with immigrant backgrounds. Perhaps for that reason, the document is an uncompromising rejection of the AfD.

“It’s unacceptable if a dissatisfied minority dictates the public agenda, ignores facts, and advocates anti-democratic and inhumane positions,” the introduction of the paper states.

The report calls for a series of reforms to make it easier for people to settle in Germany, and to facilitate their participation in the labour market and the political culture once they do. It also calls for dual citizenship. There is also a proposal for “positive discrimination” to raise the low proportion of people with immigrant backgrounds in government positions.

According to DW, with national elections coming in September, there is little chance that the recommendations by Özogun and her co-authors will be transformed into proposed legislation before the seating of a new Bundestag, which will almost certainly include the AfD.

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