German-Iranian writer Navid Kermani slams Germany’s asylum laws

Germany’s lower and upper houses of parliament – the Bundestag and Bundesrat – on Friday commemorated the 65th anniversary of the country’s “Grundgesetz,” or Basic Law. German-Iranian writer Navid Kermani spoke at the event, calling Germany’s constitution a “beautiful text” but criticizing the country’s asylum laws

Kermani told lawmakers during his speech in the Reichstag that Germany had become a more free country in the decades since adopting its constitution in 1949. As a child of immigrants who belongs to one of Germany’s minority religions, Kermani said, it would have been unthinkable just a few years ago for him to speak before parliament at the constitutional commemoration ceremony.

He added, however, that when the German constitution’s Article 16 on asylum was amended in 1990, the right to asylum in the country was “effectively abolished.”

“This is a good Germany, the best that we know,” he said. “Rather than closing it, we can be proud that it’s become so attractive.”

Germany must “not accommodate all who are weary and burdened in this world,” Kermani said, but it has “enough resources” to protect the persecuted.

“May [the constitution] be cleaned of this heartless blemish at the 70th anniversary,” he said.