Carola Rackete slams German government’s ‘inhumane’ migration stance

Carola Rackete, who captained a privately funded migrant rescue ship in the Mediterranean, is urging the German government to accept regional offers to relocate refugees from Greek camps.

“Over 100 cities have expressed their willingness to take people in,” Rackete told dpa. “It is absolutely unfathomable to me that the federal minister of the interior, Mr [Horst] Seehofer, is completely blocking this.”

Her comments came ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s meeting with district politicians and city mayors on Tuesday. The discussions, which are to take place behind closed doors, will focus on the situation for migrants in Greece and Germany’s humanitarian response.

Germany agreed in early September to take in 1,553 people with recognized refugee status after the notoriously overcrowded Moria camp on Lesbos burned down in a suspected case of arson.

The German Interior Ministry has also committed to bringing in another 243 sick children and their relatives from Greece, as well as 150 unaccompanied migrants left without shelter by the fire.

Additional relocation offers have been made by German city and district authorities.

But Merkel’s government has resisted, favouring instead a common approach negotiated with European partners, after her unilateral open-border policy during the 2015 migration crisis led to a boost for the far-right.

“It is one thing to not help. But denying help to others who want to help is inhumane,” Rackete said.

She accused Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) of veering to the right for fear of angering the right. “Then the right have won anyway.”

Rackete was briefly detained in late June 2019 after docking her rescue ship with 40 migrants on board in Lampedusa, despite Italian authorities forbidding her from doing so.

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