Germany launches website to discourage irregular migrants

There is currently a humanitarian crisis in Libya where between 800,000 and 1 million migrants are trapped. Most of them are waiting to embark on the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe. With new measures adopted by the Libyan government and other similar developments, the chances of the overwhelming majority of the migrants reaching Europe are almost foreclosed.

Most of the migrants, from different countries ranging from Nigeria, Eritrea and Mali to Afghanistan and Pakistan, were lured into paying thousands of dollars for a supposedly easy passage to Europe.

People traffickers promise their unsuspecting customers how easy it’s to get to Libya and hop into a “big ship with cinema and swimming pool” that will take them to Italy. The reality of the journey for sub-Saharan Africans is an ordeal that takes them through the Sahara Desert and ends in the Libyan nightmare of instability and lawlessness, where they’re exposed to harsh living conditions and widespread human rights abuse.

Germany, Europe’s most popular destination for asylum seekers, has decided to dissuade potential new arrivals by launching a myth-busting website that reveals the truth about hardships they could face.

African migrants in a detention centre near Tripoli, Libya. Amnesty International said there were more than 20,000 migrants being unlawfully held in detention centres, where they face brutal treatment, including beatings, torture and rape / Photo: Courtesy of UNHCR


Germany’s foreign ministry launched the website on Tuesday (23 October) to correct the misleading information peddled by people smugglers to lure their potential victims into irregularly embarking on the journey to Germany and Europe.

“Check the facts – here’s what migrants need to know,” says the new #rumoursaboutgermany site (, which is available in three languages – English, French and Arabic.

“The site can be accessed on the Smartphone and uses simple, clear language to address people, who play with the idea of coming to Germany, who are on their way or who are already here,” says Andreas Kindl, director for strategic communication at the ministry.

“The most important aim of our ‘rumours about Germany’ campaign is not to leave the responsibility of information to the traffickers. With fact-based communication we want to offer everyone, who is thinking of fleeing or migrating or is already on their way, an adequate basis of information and generate clarity in this manner,” he adds.

The #rumoursaboutgermany informs migrants that Germany “does not provide a welcome payment” to those arriving on its territory. Neither would the German government provide new arrivals with an apartment or job, the site says, adding that most refugees have to live in crowded mass accommodation centres and are not allowed to work.

The website also warns that there isn’t even the guarantee that asylum seekers crossing the Mediterranean in an attempt to reach Europe would be rescued, adding that “your chances of being picked up in time are extremely small,” and that such a journey “remains very dangerous and continues to cost thousands of lives.”

Germany is the latest European country to turn to media and advertising in an attempt to discourage irregular migration. Denmark carried out an advertising campaign in Lebanese newspapers as far back as back as 2014. In 2016, Austria ran a similar campaign in Afghanistan to deter asylum seekers from the country.

Last year, Switzerland spent $450,000 on filming a TV series with Nigerian actors showing the perils of living in Europe illegally. The series was shown on Nigerian television.

Femi Awoniyi

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