We made a Mistake, Germany should’ve kept Refugees from BiH

April 11, 2017 1:45 PM

BH Refugees GermanyApril of 1992. Pictures from TV’s that many citizens of Berlin will not ever forget.

Trains full of refugees from BiH stopped at the Berlin Zoo train station. They left the train tired, welcomed by representatives of humanitarian organizations that offered them food and water and then placed them in refugee homes. Berlin, just like during the mass influx of refugees from Syria last year, was not prepared to accept such a large number of refugees, around 40,000 of them who came to the German capital in April and the following months, as reported by Deutsche Welle.

The then plenipotentiary of the Berlin Senate for Issues of Foreigners, Barbara John, knew that her office has a special responsibility in the help to refugees. She, like many other citizens of Berlin, was shocked by the war in the region of the former Yugoslavia, which for her has been a country of peace and stability for many years.

With the arrival of refugees, numerous clubs were established in Berlin, and their responsibilities were to take care of the reception of refugees and their orientation in the million-city. Barbara John noted that there were some problems when it comes to the accommodation of so many refugees, as well as when it comes to regulation of their status. Most of them received the so-called Duldung permission that gave them only a temporary stay in Germany during the war in BiH, without the right to work.

When the war ended back in 1995, according to Barbara John, the willingness of the then German government and the Berlin Senate to allow refugees to stay in Germany was decreasing. At the conference of interior ministers of German states in April 1996, it was decided that the refugees must return to BiH. Barbara John came up with the idea to start programs of financial assistance to refugees in their return through her office.

Under the pressure of the then German government led by CDU Chancellor Helmut Kohl, a majority of refugees from BiH had to leave Germany, and a big number of them sought refuge in other countries such as the US, New Zealand or Australia. Only those particularly traumatized got the legal right to stay in Germany and Berlin. Barbara John is especially proud of their children, who finished universities and now work as doctors, lawyers, managers…

She is very sorry that Germany did not keep refugees from BiH, because they, according to her, would integrate into German society much easier than refugees that are arriving now. In the nineties of the last century, Germany, according to John, was not ready to be declared as an immigrant country and it failed to recognize the problems of its demography, which is a lot different today.

Barbara John follows the political situation in BiH and she finds it worrying. She hopes that there will be no new wars and new refugees. She would love if BiH would join the European Union as soon as possible. According to her, this would solve the problems of separatist tensions and division of the country, and within the framework of the EU, the internal borders would be irrelevant. Barbara John wished all youth to get a new perspective, stay in BiH and come to search for work and a better future in Germany only in exceptional cases. But, she is sure, if they choose this path, they will be hard working and respectable citizens of this country.

(Source: Radiosarajevo.ba)


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