Just when the idea of more compassion than dehumanisation was being put forth after the devastating details in the Nauru files, the opposite seems to be the case according to what one German politician has to say.
The head of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) says Berlin should send rejected asylum seekers and illegal immigrants to islands outside Europe and turn its refugee office into an emigration bureau.
The influx of over one million migrants last year fueled support for the AfD, which now has seats in eight of Germany’s 16 state assemblies and is expected to make a strong showing in state votes next month in Berlin and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Party leader Frauke Petry made the suggestions in an interview with the Bild newspaper published on Saturday.
“Illegal migrants and asylum seekers whose applications are rejected will be accommodated on the two islands outside Europe that are protected by the United Nations,” Ms Petry added, without naming the two islands she had in mind.
German media has interpreted Ms Petry’s remarks as a reference to the detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, where Australia funds facilities to hold asylum seekers and refugees. The United Nations Refugee Agency has called for the transfer of refugees and asylum seekers out of those centres, describing the policy as “immensely harmful”.
“I propose the transformation of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees into an office for emigration, which ensures that all illegal migrants leave this land as soon as possible,” Ms Petry added.
The refugee office has been overwhelmed since last year with hundreds of thousands of asylum applications.
Known for her fiery speeches to AfD supporters, Petry sparked an uproar earlier this year when she called for German police to be allowed to use firearms against illegal migrants.
Most of the more than one million migrants who arrived in Germany last year are refugees escaping war and persecution in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.