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Germany Might Reconsider Date for Repatriation of Bosnian Refugees

By Rolland Eggleston

Bonn, May 3 (RFE/RL) - Germany's federal interior ministry today hosts a meeting of the interior ministers from all 16 German states to discuss repatriation of refugees to Bosnia. Each state's interior minister is responsible for enforcing refugee policy in his state.

Germany yesterday said it might reconsider its plan to begin the repatriation of refugees to Bosnia July 1. The statement follows protests by refugee organizations, churches and human rights groups. The government said the protests have intensified since clashes involving refugees trying to return home to areas now controlled by their enemies. About 320,000 refugees from the former Yugoslavia are registered in Germany.

A government spokesman (anonymous) has told RFE/RL that a proposal under discussion is for repatriation to be dependent on the situation in the individual region to which the refugee is returning. Under this proposal, refugees should be returned only to regions where the situation is peaceful, and where there are jobs and accomodation.

Bonn is also considering changing the residence permits of refugees to allow them personally to check the situation in their home region, and then return. Currently, most refugees have a permit which does not give them the right of re-entry to Germany.