16 Jul 2019, 13:15
Freja Eriksen

State ministers reject German captain’s demands for taking climate refugees


Two interior ministers of the German states Hessen and Bavaria have rebuked the demand from Sea-Watch captain Carola Rackete that Germany should take in climate refugees. “I clearly reject that”, said interior minister of Bavaria Joachim Herrmann (CSU) to German newspaper Bild. “With all due understanding for the reception of refugees in distress at sea: We cannot accept half a million economic refugees or those who come to Europe out of poverty without further ado”, he continued. Interior Minister of Hessen Peter Beuth (CDU) was cited in Bild saying, "we cannot and will not welcome everyone who wants to come to us. Anyone who tells the citizens anything else is simply acting irresponsibly.” Instead, he called for a stricter fight against the causes of flight, smugglers and a more effective protection of the EU's external borders. German parliamentary state secretary of the interior ministry Stephan Mayer (CSU) also does not see climate as a basis for granting asylum. "Neither the German asylum law nor the Geneva Refugee Convention recognise "climate" as a reason for flight", he said. He stressed that asylum “for good reason” is “reserved for those who urgently need protection for ethnic, political or religious reasons”.

The worsening impacts of climate change could see more and more people move within the borders of their countries or abroad. Rackete had told Bild that the collapse of the climate system is resulting in refugees that Europe “of course” has to take in. The German captain was arrested in June after she forced her ship carrying 40 migrants rescued off the Libyan coast into the Italian port of Lampedusa. 

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