Posted on July 26, 2004

African Asylum Seekers Should Be Handled In Camps: Germany

EU Business, Jul. 21

Africans hoping to seek asylum in Europe should be put up in camps in North Africa while EU officials study their case, Germany’s interior minister has suggested, according to a newspaper report Wednesday.

Otto Schily told the Bild tabloid that “Africa’s problems must be resolved in Africa, with the support of Europe.”

The camps would house them while their applications were processed, he was reported to have said. He gave no other details of his proposal.

Schily’s comments follow a lingering row over the circumstances in which a German humanitarian aid ship disembarked 37 asylum-seeking African immigrants in Sicily after more than three weeks at sea.

The director of the Cap Anamur agency and the captain and first officer of the ship were arrested but later released. They are accused of aiding illegal immigration.

Italian authorities have refused them asylum, saying that they were not, as claimed, from Sudan’s conflict-torn Darfur region but from Nigeria, Ghana and Niger.

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