20-Sep-2017

Angela Merkel tells asylum seekers not to take holidays in their country of origin

GERMANY Aug 29: Harsher measures should be taken against asylum seekers if they take a holiday in their country of origin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview, in which she also said she had no regrets over her open-door refugee policy.
 
"Taking holidays in the country in which you are being persecuted is not on," she said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag, adding that it could be a reason to re-examine an asylum case. 
 
While there is no official data on asylum seekers returning to their home countries on "holiday", the issue has been the focus of media reports in Germany.
 
Newspaper Die Welt first reported last year that it had uncovered cases of recognised asylum seekers who travelled to countries such as Syria and Afghanistan for a short time before returning to Germany.
 
Martin Retsch, from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), said the practice was not “widespread”. The issue is, however, indicative of the tensions that have built in Germany as a result of the influx of refugees.
 
Mrs Merkel said she has no regrets over her refugee policy, which saw Germany controversially open its doors to hundreds of thousands of refugees two years ago, despite the deep rifts the decision caused in her party.