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Rage and Refuge: German Asylum System Hits Breaking Point. "Their villages are bombed, then they come here and they are called criminals," says Turgay Ulu, a Turkish journalist and former political prisoner who came to Germany about two years ago as an asylum seeker. He's sitting on a tattered sofa in a makeshift protest camp in the middle of Oranienplatz, a central square in Berlin's Kreuzberg district.

Ulu and some 200 fellow refugees have been occupying the square since October of last year. "Look around! These people are from Afghanistan, Libya, Mali," says Ulu, gesturing in turn at a group of men playing foosball under a blue-and-white-striped big top and two others helping a toddler blow soap bubbles in the middle of the square. "We are refugees, not criminals! " The ongoing protest is meant to call attention to the significant procedural shortcomings of Germany's asylum policy. A Slow Process Cities are struggling to keep up with the influx, but the problem has been particularly acute in Berlin. But it's a slow process. 'Unacceptable Delay'

Germans Open Their Homes To Refugee Roommates : Parallels. Berlin residents Mareike Geiling (left) and her boyfriend, Jonas Kakoschke, speak with their roommate, a Muslim refugee from Mali. Geiling and Kokoschke helped launch a website that matches Germans willing to share their homes with new arrivals. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson/NPR hide caption itoggle caption Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson/NPR Berlin residents Mareike Geiling (left) and her boyfriend, Jonas Kakoschke, speak with their roommate, a Muslim refugee from Mali. Geiling and Kokoschke helped launch a website that matches Germans willing to share their homes with new arrivals. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson/NPR Asylum-seekers are flooding into Germany in record numbers, with more than 200,000 applying for that status last year, many from Muslim countries, according to the government.

This is fueling tensions on several fronts. Berlin residents Mareike Geiling and her boyfriend, Jonas Kakoschke, have a different approach. itoggle caption Holly Pickett for NPR Michael Gottschalk/Photothek via Getty Images. Germany is housing refugees within Holocaust-era concentration camps. A view of a former SS guards barracks at a sub-camp of Nazi-era Buchenwald concentration camp in Schwerte, near the western German town of Dortmund, on Jan. 13. (Ina Fassbender/Reuters) On Tuesday, the world remembered the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi death camp Auschwitz. The same day, the German city of Augsburg decided to turn a branch of the former concentration camp at Dachau into a refugee center. The asylum seekers were slated to live in a building where thousands of slave laborers suffered and died under the Nazi regime. The Dachau outpost is not the only concentration camp site that is being turned into a refugee center in Germany. In the middle of January, the German city of Schwerte started to move asylum-seekers who had volunteered to be relocated into a branch of the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald.

Schwerte's mayor had pursued his plans despite the criticism. In Augsburg, city officials are trying to emphasize their good intentions. Continue reading. In Germany, refugees seek fair treatment. Berlin, Germany - Hakim Bello doesn't like to be called a refugee, because that implies he's from somewhere else and you're from here, and the one has nothing to do with the other. Originally from Nigeria, he lived in Libya for six years until 2011, when the uprising against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi - and the subsequent NATO intervention - made life there untenable for black Africans like him, who became the target of racist attacks. Like thousands of others, he crossed the Mediterranean by boat, landing on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where he was transferred between reception centres "like a business toy", before being released.

Now, the 32-year-old explains all this perched on a park bench in Berlin, outside the protest camp he has called home for the past year. "They say I'm illegal," Hakim says. "So I'm putting it in their face: I'm illegal. " Many complain about the resulting isolation, compounded by delays in processing their claims. Symbol of indifference Need a job. 'Flowers, candles and coffee were waiting for us': Syrians find warm welcome ... Yahia sits at his computer and, zooming into an image of Damascus on Google Earth, steers the cursor as if it were a car and he were driving a visitor through the streets.

“Here was our villa,” says the civil engineer, hovering over the stunted remains of the family home, the turquoise blue of the swimming pool visible in the garden. “Here’s the road to the airport, the one to Aleppo, and here’s the frontline of the war.” To the left of the ruins of his house Yahia points out the stumps of the now-destroyed housing blocks he once built in Babila, his home town in the southern suburbs of the Syrian capital. “How I dream of going back one day and rebuilding it all,” he says through a haze of cigarette smoke. Instead, for now, he is sitting in a farmhouse in the village of Brodersby in Schleswig-Holstein, looking out through a drizzle over the flat plains of northern Germany, his adopted home. Mohamed, their eldest son, was especially elated. “We’d spend all day on the phone to each other. Germany. 2015 UNHCR subregional operations profile - Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe | Overview | The number of asylum applications received in 2014 in European Union (EU) Member States has risen by 25 per cent compared to the same period in 2013.

A quarter of the applicants are of Afghan, Eritrean or Syrian origin, and a similar proportion are under 18 years of age. There have also been many more asylum applications from stateless people, with an estimated total of 436,000 people across the European Union. Germany continues to be the recipient of the largest number of asylum applications, followed by France, Sweden, Italy and the United Kingdom. In the first seven months of 2014, more than 87,000 people arrived in Italy by sea, mainly from Eritrea and the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria). In an effort to reduce the risks linked to such journeys, in October 2013 the Italian Government launched the Mare Nostrum operation, which has rescued more than 100,000 people. Asylum and protection. Fleeing violence, Syrian refugees find new homes in Germany. In the past two years, Germany has pledged to admit 30,000 Syrians on humanitarian grounds, a number that is higher than the quotas of the rest of Europe, Australia and Canada combined.

Ariane Rummery, spokeswoman for UNHCR, described Germany’s humanitarian admission program as generous. She suggested such initiatives, in which legal pathways to Europe for refugees are created, could help address the rising death toll in the Mediterranean Sea’s human-trafficking routes. “Certainly the lack of safer and legal alternatives to find protection in industrialized countries is part of what drives people to take dangerous sea journeys or other so-called irregular movements,” said Rummery, adding that humanitarian admission scheme practiced by Germany should serve as an example for other governments. “This is an important and concrete way the international community can share the burden of what is the most dramatic humanitarian crisis of our time.” EU | Syrian Refugees. Interview with Claus Sørensen, Director-General of the Directorate-General Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection at the European Commission.

April 2014 Migration Policy Centre Policy Brief The Mediterranean Sea is the most porous border between Europe and its neighbours and the world’s most dangerous border between countries that are not at war with each other. Three facts emerge: sea routes to Europe are anything but new; places of embarkation and disembarkation have changed in relation to controls; and the risk of dying at sea has considerably increased over the last decade. Download the full Policy Brief European Union Case Studies The European Union (EU) is leading international humanitarian aid to Syria and neighbouring countries, with over €2 billion distributed in humanitarian aid as of October 2014.

Released in November 2012. Download the full EU case study Download the full case study Meanwhile, more than 3 million refugees have entered Syria’s neighbouring countries.