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New German report on immigration welcomed by UN refugee agency

New German report on immigration welcomed by UN refugee agency

The United Nations refugee agency today welcomed the publication in Germany of a new report on immigration, lauding the document's positive approach and expressing hope that its influence would benefit asylum-seekers in the country and beyond.

A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ron Redmond, said the findings and recommendations of the report by the Independent Immigration Commission "mark a significant shift of thinking by a major European nation by showing that immigration not only can be a positive process, but is in fact a necessary one."

Mr. Redmond pointed to UNHCR's long-standing concern about the exclusionary nature of virtually all immigration measures in Europe, where the asylum system was viewed as the only open door. "Zero migration policies and draconian exclusionary measures have simply fed the development and proliferation of people-smuggling networks, and have had a severe impact on the ability of refugees to gain access to Europe at all," he said.

The report's recommendations, if implemented could result in a coherent, managed migration system which would benefit all - refugees, migrant workers, and governments - by reducing the attraction of the smuggling networks, Mr. Redmond observed. "UNHCR particularly welcomes the fact that the Commission addressed both asylum and migration issues, examining the interlinkages between them, while maintaining their very distinct identities."

Noting that the Commission's report has not yet been translated into policy, Mr. Redmond expressed hope that not only would the document have a positive effect on the reception and treatment of asylum-seekers in Germany, but would also feed into the "extremely important asylum and immigration harmonization process now under way within the European Union."