On World Refugee Day, I first look with gratitude at the enormous willingness to help and the multifaceted commitment shown across the country as many Ukrainians arrive here. Fleeing Putin’s ruthless war of aggression, they find a safe home in Germany.
This cannot hide the fact that the number of refugees is increasing every year. The UNHCR estimates that there are now more than 100 million refugees worldwide. This is an alarming record. The majority of these people are internally displaced. A shocking example right now is the violent resettlement of thousands of indigenous Maasai in Tanzania.
News from Europe, however, is mixed. I welcome the compromise reached by the EU interior ministers, after years of stonewalling, on the redistribution of people seeking protection. But it is only a step towards greater solidarity with people seeking protection and with EU partners, because it is completely voluntary. At the same time, we cannot ignore the human rights deficits here in Europe. These include the unacceptable migration deal between the UK and Rwanda, the continued pushbacks in from the EU external borders in violation of international law, and the continued criminalization of search and rescue efforts by private vessels.
On World Refugee Day, I would also like to turn to Afghanistan. In less than two months, on August 15, it will be a year since Kabul fell. I am very happy that local employees and people in danger are still being evacuated from Afghanistan. However, I must also criticize the fact that the federal government has not yet managed to adequately implement its coalition promises. In the coalition agreement, we agreed to launch a federal humanitarian admission program this year for Afghanistan. In line with a feminist foreign policy, we want to focus in this context on women, children and marginalized groups. I expect this political commitment to be taken seriously and the admissions program to be launched no later than the anniversary of the fall of Kabul.
The new federal government is committed to protecting refugees and their basic rights. This must be reflected in our actions on refugee policy. A refugee policy based on human rights is an integral part of a foreign and domestic policy based on values.