On Tuesday (16 June), 42 refugees from Syria arrived in Kassel Calden airport on a charter flight from Alexandria. They are among those seeking protection who Germany is taking in from Egypt in 2015 as part of its resettlement programme.
Since November 2014, the Egyptian authorities have held the refugees in police custody close to Alexandria. The refugees are Syrian and Palestinian families that fled from the war in Syria. The German Government called for their release and undertook to take them in. During his talks with Egyptian leaders in Cairo one month ago, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that Germany would take the refugees in.
As part of the resettlement programme, 500 refugees in need of protection are being offered a new life in Germany each year. The programme is aimed at refugees who are unlikely to be able to integrate into the country where they are currently living or return to their country of origin.
During a visit to Cairo, Steinmeier announced that Germany would take the refugees in
People smugglers had originally promised to take the 42 war refugees to Italy by sea via Turkey. But from the start, the smugglers’ intention was to let the refugees perish at sea after the ships set off from Turkey. However, the crews ultimately allowed the refugees to disembark on an island, where they were picked up by the Egyptian Navy.
The refugees flew to Germany on Tuesday (16 June). A team from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees organised their trip with the support of the Germany Embassy in Cairo, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Egyptian organisations. The families landed safely in Germany on Tuesday afternoon.
Before the new arrivals are resettled in the various German Länder, they will spend around two weeks in Friedland refugee transit camp, where they will acquire basic German language skills and learn about their new home during an induction course. The resettlement programme refugees will then travel to the municipalities taking them in, where they will be able to attend an integration course and look for work.