Tuesday 5, December
What is going on at Berlin Tegel? 55 security staff fired following police inspection
The large fight which broke out between some of the different refugee groups housed at Tegel arrival centre was already evidence of underlying problems at the facility, but the further details now emerging paint a worrying picture.
Last week, following the incident, some Kurdish refugees were moved to a different living area which was in a terrible condition: Flooded dirty tents left without heating in sub-zero temperatures. While theLAF (State Office for Refugee Affairs) wrote on twitter that the pipes were frozen and a cleaning crew had called in sick, Kurdish refugees housed at the centre complained of a pattern of behaviour and a clear a political bias against Kurdish refugees by the security staff. And now, there is a further drama at the centre, with 55 of these security personnel having their employment contracts terminated immediately following a police inspection.
The police operation at Tegel arrival centre began at 20:15 Sunday evening and lasted until 2:00 on Monday morning, with 183 staff from private security firms undergoing inspection. As a result of these checks, 55 staff members were immediately dismissed, and 87 investigations were begun into violations of security operations. While spokesperson for the LAF, Sascha Langenbach spoke of a “routine check” this was a clear sign of a major breakdown. Kurdish refugees have repeatedly spoken of a police bias from among the security staff – with two staff members who were fired after the brawl last week said to have made “anti-Kurdish” remarks.
Speaking with Exberliner, Ferat Koçak (DIE LINKE), spokesperson for climate, refugee and anti-fascist politics is calling Berlin to institute a new process of hiring to security staff at such facilities, with questions being asked as part of the that process to ensure the political neutrality of all staff, alongside standard workshops to combat racism and sexism. Concerns about the behaviour of security services at the facility is not new. Back in September, 130 female Ukrainian refugees wrote an open letter complaining of inhumane treatment and physical violence from the staff.