As part of the international efforts, Germany has continued to endeavour to help people in Afghanistan even after the Taliban seized power in mid-August 2021. In addition to humanitarian assistance on the ground, this includes approvals for admission during the last few months for former local employees and other Afghans who are at particular risk.
Almost 26,000 local employees and especially vulnerable Afghans have already taken advantage of the admission options provided by the German Government.
Now the Government is following on from this with the federal admission programme, thus implementing a project contained in the coalition agreement. The coordination process included structured cooperation with civil-society organisations.
The Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community and the Federal Foreign Office have developed a balanced programme in conjunction with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and in a dialogue with civil-society organisations.
Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser:
We are taking action and fulfilling our humanitarian responsibility. Compared to other EU member states, Germany has admitted by far the largest number of Afghan former local employees and other particularly vulnerable Afghans.
We will continue to fulfil this responsibility and have now created a structured framework for future admissions. Based on established admission criteria, we are able to offer protection to particularly vulnerable people from Afghanistan. We are doing this with reference to the number of people we have admitted so far, because we know that our towns and municipalities are under a lot of pressure due to the large number of refugees we have already admitted this year. So we are closely monitoring local capacities for admitting and integrating refugees.
We are also working closely with civil society organisations to explore new avenues and forms of cooperation which have never been tried before. For example, we now have a coordinating office to support civil society organisations taking part in the programme.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock:
Many people in Afghanistan live in fear every day of persecution and violence – people who, like us, believed in a better future for Afghanistan, lived for that vision, put every effort into realising it. Since last summer, the Taliban have denied women and girls in particular any hope or prospects for the future, they have increasingly curtailed their rights and crack down brutally on anyone who resists. The humanitarian admission programme which is finally being launched today is therefore targeted at them in particular. We want to give them back some hope and the chance to lead self-determined lives in freedom and safety.
I am especially grateful to the many committed members of civil society who have shown admirable spirit in helping to get people out of Afghanistan since last year, in some cases placing themselves at the greatest personal risk. They have advised us with the selection criteria and target groups, thus ensuring that the federal admission programme assists those who need it most urgently. To that end, we have now created a clear and reliable legal framework.
Implementation begins today. I cannot deny that we still face a mammoth task. Stating that we will take people in is one thing – ensuring that they can leave Afghanistan safely to come to Germany is another. It will require a joint effort to achieve the targets we have set ourselves. We will not slacken our efforts.
In light of the complexity of this issue and the extremely difficult situation on the ground, it will not be possible to put a perfect system in place. We are all aware that some aspects of the new federal admission programme require some modification. But to finally have a nationwide programme to bring those in particular need of protection to safety legally and with as little risk as possible is a thousand times better than no admission programme.
The following framework was agreed upon for the federal admission programme for people from Afghanistan who are at particular risk:
Afghan nationals in Afghanistan who
- have exposed themselves to particular risk through their commitment to women’s and human rights or their work in the spheres of justice, politics, the media, education, culture, sport or academia and are thus vulnerable
- due to the special circumstances of their individual cases have experienced or are experiencing violence or persecution based on their gender, sexual orientation or gender identity or religion and are therefore at concrete and personal risk. In particular, these are victims of serious individual women’s rights violations, homo- or transphobic human rights violations or vulnerable representatives of religious groups/communities.
Only people who are living in Afghanistan can be considered for inclusion in the programme. The names of suitable persons are put forward by the authorised agencies. These agencies will be designated by the German Government and be granted the right to nominate individuals due to their specific knowledge of the persons eligible for admission to Germany or of the situation in Afghanistan. They may include civil-society organisations. The participating civil-society organisations are assisted in this process by a coordinating office funded by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community.
The procedure involves the authorised agencies entering the data and information required for selection and admission in an IT application made available by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community. Access to the IT application is only possible following prior authentication as an authorised agency. The first entries in the IT application will be possible in the coming days following the registration of authorised agencies.
At the start of the programme, the focus will initially be on persons on whom the participating agencies already have information. The plan is to make new registrations possible at a later stage of the programme.
The German Government’s decisions on selection will be based on the names put forward and the established selection criteria. Decisions will be made at regular intervals based on the current data available. The authorised agencies can put forward names on an ongoing basis. When it comes to considering family members, a definition of family adapted to the reality on the ground is used.
The programme is now to be implemented quickly so that the first approvals for admission can be granted and the selected persons can be given active support in leaving Afghanistan. In cases already brought to our attention, approval will continue to be granted using the existing criteria in the initial stages of the new programme.
The plan is to approve around 1000 Afghans at particular risk along with their family members from Afghanistan for admittance every month. That is in line with the number of approvals granted during the last few months to Afghans who are at particular risk.
Admissions and entries to date
So far, the German Government has granted approvals for admission to around 38,100 Afghans. During the last few months, around 1000 persons per month on average were granted approval for admission. The persons approved for admission include approximately 24,500 former local employees and around another 13,600 vulnerable Afghans, including eligible family members. Of these, more than two thirds (around 26,000 individuals) have already entered Germany.
The German Government provides further information on the programme on the following website: www.bundesaufnahmeprogrammafghanistan.de