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German state may not deport far-right victims

January 4, 2017

Brandenburg is the first German state to pass a rule forbidding the deportation of asylum seekers who have been victims or witnesses of violent crimes. Authorities hope this could curb the rise in far-right crimes.

Refugees wait in line in Brandenburg
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Pleul

The German state of Brandenburg will not deport asylum seekers if they have been victimized by right-wing violence.

Local media reported on Tuesday that Brandenburg's Interior Ministry had asked local authorities to use the leeway available to them to make sure foreigners whose asylum applications had been rejected, but who had been victims of right-wing attacks, could stay in the country.

With the decree issued on December 21, the Interior Ministry implemented a resolution Brandenburg's parliament had passed in April. The directive posits that victims of crimes and witnesses to crimes of a certain severity should be allowed to stay in Germany. This includes crimes such as attempted murder, assault, arson and bomb attacks, but also kidnapping, theft, blackmail, public riots and sexual offenses.

Asylum seekers who have committed a crime or share responsibility for a violent incident are exempt from the new rule.

Infographic showing attacks against refugees in  2016

Right-wing offenses on the rise

According to local daily "Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten," which first reported on the decree, the eastern state that surrounds Berlin is the only German state with this type of policy.

Far right-wing crime against foreigners has been on the rise in Germany over the past two years amid an unprecedented influx of asylum seekers.

Eastern Germany, in particular, has long struggled with far-right extremism. According to local TV station rbb, right-wing offenses in Brandenburg increased by 23 percent in 2015.

mb/cmk (AP, dpa)

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