Germany has suspended a refugee pact with Turkey and will not accept refugees from any country due to the coronavirus epidemic in Europe, the Interior Ministry announced on March 18.
Interior Ministry spokesman Steve Alter said Germany has halted the programs on refugee resettlement “due to the restrictions on travel,” and the programs will resume “when possible,” Deutsche Welle reported.
When asked whether the measure would only apply to refugees arriving from Turkey, he said that all programs were affected.
Since 2012, Germany has taken in refugees from camps in countries such as Turkey and Lebanon under a so-called “resettlement program,” with a target of helping about 5,000 every year.
The numbers of refugees who arrive in Europe under resettlement programs are relatively small compared to the numbers making irregular journeys and applying for asylum after they arrive.
Humanitarian aid organizations nonetheless say the resettlement system is an important tool as it protects those who are the most vulnerable.