Integration Advisory Council Leipzig
Two members of the Integration Advisory Council Leipzig had to leave it due to a questionable legal change. We support their legal action against the exclusion.
After a negative decision by the Saxon Higher Administrative Court (OVG) in the summary proceedings, the GFF supports the plaintiffs' application to the Saxon Higher Administrative Court (OVG) for a standards check in the main case. Unsurprisingly, the OVG upheld the statute in the main proceedings as well and did not even allow an appeal. This decision was overturned by the Federal Administrative Court in February 2022, so that we can now conduct appeal proceedings in Leipzig.
Emad A. and Mehman R. were members of the integration advisory council of the district of Leipzig for three and a half years. They volunteered in addition to their jobs and studies and represented the interests of foreign residents of the district.
In the fall of 2018, the district council changed the rules of the Integration Advisory Council (IBO). While the IBO previously provided for the membership of "two persons with a migration background living in the district," now only "three residents ... with a migration background and German citizenship or secured right of residence" may be members of the advisory board. The new IBO excluded A. and R., who only have a residence permit and a toleration permit, respectively, from the Integration Advisory Board.
INTEGRATION ADVISORY BOARD CAN NO LONGER FULFILL ITS FUNCTION
However, the stricter requirements of the IBO contradict the principle of equality in Article 3 (1) of the Basic Law. This is because they treat residents of the district unequally, without there being any objective reason for this. The residence status of a person is not such a reason, since this says little about the actual stay in the district. German citizens and foreigners with a secure right of residence can also change their place of residence or terminate their membership in the advisory council. Emad A. and Mehman R., who have now been excluded on the basis of their residence status, have each lived in the Leipzig district for many years.
In addition to the legally questionable unequal treatment, the amendment also harms the advisory council's ability to function. Integration advisory councils are supposed to enable foreign residents at the municipal level to represent their interests vis-à-vis the municipalities. By excluding people without a secure residence status, the interests of these people are also excluded from the decision-making processes of the Leipzig district. In this way, the advisory council cannot achieve its goal of making the voices of all people with a migration background heard.
EXCLUSION BY THE STATE
The amendment of the IBO denies equal treatment to residents without a secure right of residence. However, the district of Leipzig is directly bound to basic rights - also towards foreign citizens. The GFF wants to stop this unequal treatment by the state. The goal is to have the change in the IBO found to be unlawful. The plaintiffs are represented in court by the Leizpig lawyer Dr. Simon Schuster and supported by the Borna-based association Bon Courage e.V., among others.