A Syrian refugee is being protected from Bulgaria by a Lutheran church in Germany. The 24-year-old, who had been registered in Bulgaria first, was supposed to be sent back to the country, due to the Dublin Agreement. In the town of Warendorf, North-Rhine Wesphalia, he now lives in a former church owned by the regional division of the Lutheran Church.
The daily Westfälische Nachrichten says, the refugee by the name of Ezzeddin Khoshko was incarcerated, beaten and threatened in Bulgaria. For that reason, and because non-governmental organizations are accusing Bulgaria of abuse, Khoshko is not being sent back. At least for now, he is protected by something called church asylum.
The publication in Germany quotes Hans-Jürgen Klein, a member of the Presbyterian Church in Beelen: “We all know what would happen to him in Bulgaria. That is why we are granting him asylum for humanitarian reasons.”
According to Westfälische Nachrichten, volunteers, who help refugees in that part of Germany, were the ones who looked for a solution for Khoshko and finally found this option at the church. The latter now wants to ask the authorities to grant him asylum in Germany as an exception, due to the hardships endured and expected in Bulgaria.
It is not the first time the church in Beelen grants asylum to refugees. Last year, the religious organization was successful in getting asylum for three refugees in similar cases.
In the past months and years, several NGOs have accused Bulgaria of abusing refugees. One of them is the German organization Pro Asyl, which released a report citing violence on the part of the police, assaults by racists, as well as the lack of any medical treatment, support, education or access to the job market.