FAU Human Rights Clinic First Report Published

The FAU Human Rights Clinic (HRC) has published its first report with PRO ASYL, Germany’s largest pro-immigration advocacy organization. The HRC is an an interdisciplinary human rights practice project in which students work out an “expert opinion” on a current human rights issue over a period of one year in cooperation with a practice partner from the NGO scene. This year the students worked with PRO ASYL on the issue of the admission of Afghan local staff.

The HRC team of law and human rights students published the expert opinion “Basic and human rights compliant admission of Afghan local staff (Ortskräfte)”. The report beings with analyzing the so-called local staff procedure (Ortskräfteverfahren) and its legal basis §22 S. 2 AufenthG and outlines problems. Ortskräfte are confronted with numerous challenges and (legal) problems, which, in effect, prevent them from receiving the protection they desperately need. Many local employees were left unprotected in Afghanistan or encountered hurdles in the process that significantly delayed admission, exposing them to additional dangers, or leading to a denial of protection. The problems are, among others, intertwined with and rooted in the (problematic) understanding of the involved authorities and courts that the admission of local staff is a purely political decision and the denial of any legal obligation towards local staff. The Expert Opinion questions this view by referring to (extraterritorial) human rights obligations under the German Basic Law, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The examination of an example case of an Afghan teacher employed by a local NGO under the so-called Police Cooperation Project (PCP), which runs through the federally owned Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), finds that Germany is obliged to protect local staff of the PCP. In particular, the human rights obligation arises independently of the German definition of local staff (Ortskraft) and includes all people for whom a sufficient connection to Germany has been established and are therefore at risk. The current admission procedure based on §22 S. 2 AufenthG does not sufficiently fulfill the human rights obligation for these people. Thus, the Expert Opinion proposes a human rights compliant admission of local forces by a human rights compliant interpretation and application of § 22 S. 2 AufenthG and the introduction of a new legal protection and admission regime for local staff. The full report (in German) can be found here.

Lena Schmid, a current student of MA Human Rights, was one of the students involved in this project. She says, “participating in the Human Rights Clinic was a valuable experience. The Clinic was accompanied by several workshops, which allowed us to broaden and deepen our skills and knowledge related to research and methodological competencies and the International Human Rights Protection Regime. It was exciting to work with other students on an existing human rights issue and to approach it from a politically-strategically and legal perspective.”

More information on the Human Rights Clinic itself and its upcoming projects can be found here.