FRA Director visits Berlin for talks with NGOs, government officials

FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty with Maria Böttche and Meltem Arsu from the BZFO, Berlin, 15.03.2016
FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty with Maria Böttche and Meltem Arsu from the BZFO, Berlin, 15.03.2016
On 15 March, FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty visited the Centre for Victims of Torture in Berlin (BZFO).

He met staff who are actively working with refugees in especial need of protection and those suffering from trauma, and heard about the high number of refugees who need psychological support upon arrival in Germany.

The Centre is currently working on an app to provide refugees arriving in the EU with information about symptoms and treatment of trauma. It also runs an internet-based service that provides psychological support in Arabic for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders.

In further meetings with NGOs and the media hosted by Beate Rudolf, Director of the German Institute for Human Rights, Michael O’Flaherty spoke about the importance of honouring international and European human rights commitments and legislation as the EU seeks solutions to the ongoing migration crisis.

“This is a vital time to ensure that the EU and its Member States do not cross the ‘red line’ on human rights,” he said, adding he was optimistic that workable, human rights-based solutions would be found.

The Director went on to say: “It’s positive to see that increasing legal avenues for people in need of international protection to enter the EU is part of the discussion.” More details on FRA’s recommendations in this context are available in the paper Legal entry channels to the EU for persons in need of international protection: a toolbox.

During his two-day visit to Berlin, the Director also met the Federal Minister for Justice and Consumer Protection Heiko Maas, Minister of State in the German Chancellery and Federal Government Commissioner for Immigration, Refugees and Integration Aydan Özoğuz, and State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior Emily Haber. The migration situation and efforts by the EU and Member States to combat hate crime topped the agenda.