Call for solidarity with stateless Lebanese Kurds

28.Jan.02 - After 12 years of settlement in Bremen, going to school, having found employment or businesses established a group of 550 of our colleagues, friends, neighbours and schoolmates have been served with deportation orders. For two years, a solidarity campaign could win time again and again, but by now things have been worsened. We now need any support from any level to get through the obvious solution: a right to stay on humanitarian grounds.
We need YOUR protest fax or email from wherever in the world you are based. The authorities need to understand that they are watched by many. So, please take some minutes to write a protest note to the addresses listed below.


Here are some details about the Bremen based campaign against the deportation of 550 stateless Kurdish Lebanese. There are similar campaigns in Lower Saxon and Northrhine Westfalia, though at earlier stages. Altogether about 10.000+ individuals are concerned.

The main source of information is the website, there in particular the Grundungserklarung, the link Antirassismusburo leads a another list including an English document, "DNA tests to prove bogus Lebanese are Turkish", Statewatch, No. 1 2001, p. 5.

Because it is several families with several hundred members their migration histories are very complex and differ from case to case. The following summary only lists some of the main features.

In short, these people belong to a group of Arabic speaking Kurds originally from some areas in the Mardin province who fled Turkey either after the first Kurdish uprisings in the 1920s or during the 1940s to settle in Lebanon. There, they have never been naturalised as citizens and remained stateless for generations. Some even have Lebanese birth certificates and various other Lebanese documents for example Beirut residence registrations. During the 1980s civil war they found themselves in the crossfire between the different parties and fled again. Some directly came to Germany, but most however, because they did not have any IDs first went to Turkey, bribed some village mayors to get registered onto the populations registrar in order to obtain false Turkish IDs. These allowed them to travel to Germany. Whilst up to 1995, because of the deportation stop for Kurds to Turkey most Kurds subsequently got a right to stay, this group never enjoyed such provisions.

Since 1999, the Bremen Senator for Interior in order to solve that situation first launched a public campaign to criminalise the entire group as bogus asylum seekers. Additionally, they were labbelled as welfare fraudsters, because during all these years, whilst most had been their a work permits refused they received benefits of course. Some of the media have already been warned by the German Press Council for their practice of treating them all the same. The second main argument is that because they are registered in Turkey, they can be treated as Turks, hence be deported to Turkey. That is despite the fact that none of the second generation and few of the first generation would speak any Turkish (they are all Arabic speaking) and despite the fact that they do not have any relatives in Turkey. So, obviously, it is a rather weak argument and quite some of the Turkish data is obviously false like age, name etc it has been confirmed by Bremen Administrative courts.
Another problem is that some of the male sons have criminal records (for usually minor offences) and some socialisation deficits though none has ever been served with a sentence of three years or more, which would legitimise a deportation order due to German Foreigners Law. However, most family members and in particular the female members are well integrated with no criminal records at all. The few petty criminals are basically used to punish the many innocent.

In course of the criminalisation campaign they first got their residence permits and second their work permits withdrawn (in case they had one); some families got their jewellery confiscated others their property or businesses; one family had to close down their green grocery. Some second generation youth did lose their apprenticeship, another had to step out of his hight school education. The mother of the family after several nervous breakdowns is a traumatised and broken person, now. In its latest step, the families have been served with new names, Turkish names and have been served with letters stating that from now on any attempt to use their Arabic names would be treated a criminal offence. By day to day pressure these families got their livelyhood destroyed, their dignity smashed and their will broken.

Over the time serious concerns and a massive support has been expressed including the Childrens' Safety Alliance, the Juvenile Parole Board, the Senat's Foreigners Committee, the Senat's Youth Committee, the Foreigners Ombudswomen, the Green Party, Pro Asyl, the Pupils Union, the Parents' Union, several Head Teachers and complete schools' teachers assemblies, several trade union officials, and some Social Democratic, Christian Democratic and Green MPs etc the campaign has as yet been unable to gain a break through. The Senat as such and the Senator for Interior in particular did not move a centimeter.

Numerous press statements, public hearings, research reports, experts opinions, academical reports, solicitors arguments etc provide evidence of the said.

The fierce and committed policy of Bremen's Senator of Interior Kuno Bˆse and his staff in the Foreign Department is beyond any description. Without having witnessed the two-years long meticulous campaign to break these families one would not believe that this could happen again in Germany.

At present, the situation is extrem desparate and tense. Most members of the leading family, the El-Zeins are either in deportation prison awaiting their deportation (even a 15 year ald youth), unfit to travel because of nervous breakdown (mother) or other illnesses (daughter) or in hiding. The Interior Senator aims to deport them one by one and thereby dividing the family in order to increase pressure on the others. This policy also divides the families of the sons as only the male are served with deportation orders whilst the daughters-in-law by and large have a safe status, one even has her naturalisation case pending. That is made possible because these marriages, agreed under Islamic law are not acknowledged by the Bremen Foreign Department. The other families will suffer the same fate, soon.

All this raises a range of questions ranging from hardship and humanitarian/compassionate grounds (they are settled in Bremen for 12 years now, all the children have been brought up in Bremen with most of the grand children even born here); family's rights; childrens' rights and implementation of UN Childrens' Rights Convention; and equal treatment of Islamic marriages. All these rights, including human rights are trampled on.

In this case, any support or any intervention from any side would be most welcome. In particular political pressure needs to be increased on Bremen's Senator for Interior. Although his main argument is that all legal opportunities are exhausted the most obvious solution is one on humanitarian/compassionate grounds and childrens' rights.

What these people so desperately need is mercy and peace.

Any letter of support, any query or comment shall be send to or, copy to

Any letter of concern, any public enquiry or any protest should be faxed or emailed to the Senat and to Senator of Interior, including a copy to the support campaign.

Senator f¸r Inneres, Kultur und Sport
Herr Dr. Kuno Boese
Fax 49-421-361 9009

An den
Chef der Senatskanzlei
Herr Prof Dr. Hoffmann
Fax 49-421- 361 6363

Copy please to:
Fl¸chtlingsinitiative Bremen e.V.
Fax 49-421-70 57 75