Abolish or Optimise Detention Camps for Deportees?


According to a report presented to the TAZ from the Internal Ministry in Postdam, it seems a discussion is brewing on how to save money from detention camps while some other parties actually suggest that the politicians should abolish all the camps instead.

The report discusses the huge detention camps in Berlin and in Brandenburg that are basically liabilities to the regional government. The committee in-charge suggested that the camps be merged into one to save on running costs. As it is now, the camp in Berlin has a capacity of over 215 but is currently holding only 3, while the camp in Brandenburg has a capacity of 108 and is holding 18.

According to the paper, the camp in Grünau is run by policemen who are trained and very professional while the one in Eisenhüttenstadt is run by a private security company whose workers aren’t well paid (€5 an hour). According to Bernhard Fricke the pastor in-charge of both camps, the policemen in Grünau are better trained in intercultural interactions while those in Eisenhüttenstadt don’t even speak English. The detainees end up not getting any information on how long they will stay in the camp or even what happened to their family. The last hunger strike was due to lack of information.

Brandenburg don’t want to merge with Berlin due to the costs that would be incurred. In case of a merger, Brandenburg would have to pay €400 per detainee which includes costs for the police personnel, a translator, social worker and a psychologist. There has been no psychologist working in Brandenburg as many refused to work in the remote camp but they currently have one who works 4hrs a week. Doctors have also refused to work in the remote camp.

There have been suggestions that they build a new camp near the new airport in Berlin, but Brandenburg aren’t interested in shutting down the camp in Eisenhüttenstadt. Berlin though hasn’t agreed to move their detainees to Eisenhüttenstadt, their argument being that the distance (120km) will lock out the detainees from getting help from lawyers and social workers. The possibility of the move has not been locked out.

The distance to Eisenhüttenstadt is a major problem, even Fricke agrees saying in Berlin you get students who speak the same language as some of the detainees volunteering to hang out with the detainees; something never heard of in Brandenburg.

Ursula Nonnemacher an expert on the Greens (die Grüne) in Brandenburg suggests that they should prevent detention before deportation or completely do away with it. A good example is Rheinland Palatine that shut down all its detention camps, and used the money saved on counselling and advising refugees in that state.

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