The level of protection given to people fleeing Syria, Eritrea, Iraq and Afghanistan in Germany has decreased drastically this year. Instead of refugee status, the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) is granting subsidiary protection to all four nationalities. In contrast with last year, people from Iraq and Afghanistan often receive no protection at all. People with subsidiary status face stricter conditions for family reunification, than people with full refugee status.

According to Pro Asyl, in 2015 nearly a 100 per cent of all Syrians obtained refugee status; the percentage fell continuously this year from 46 percent being granted only subsidiary in June to 70 per cent granted subsidiary protection in August. This situation has been leading to an increase of appeals, in which the German Administrative Courts have accepted that Syrians are entitled to refugee status.

Eritreans had a refugee status recognition rate of 96 per cent last year. However, in July, 19 per cent were granted subsidiary protection and in August 27 per cent.  While last year 96,7 per cent of all persons fleeing Iraq obtained a refugee status, in August 19 percent received subsidiary protection and 28 per cent of applications were rejected.

Similarly, in August 2016, only 48 per cent of Afghans received full protection, while last year 79 per cent had been granted full refugee status. Following an inquiry initiated by Green Party MP Volker Beck, the German government stated that in the first half of this year every second asylum request of a male Afghan asylum seeker was rejected. “Taking into account the precarious human rights situation in Afghanistan, the increasing numbers of rejections is especially concerning,” said MP Beck to the ECRE Weekly Bulletin.

It is thus likely that with an increasing number of people being granted subsidiary protection in 2016, and given the stricter conditions they will face for family reunification, it is of concern that more families may be forced to make the journey irregularly.

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