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Bautzen CDU district administrator rekindles dispute over asylum seekers with "Christmas message".

A little peaceful Christmas message from the Bautzen District Administrator Udo Witschas on the accommodation of refugees caused a stir in Thuringia.

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Bautzen CDU district administrator rekindles dispute over asylum seekers with "Christmas message".

A little peaceful Christmas message from the Bautzen District Administrator Udo Witschas on the accommodation of refugees caused a stir in Thuringia. In a video published on Facebook on Tuesday evening, the CDU politician said, among other things, that refugees in the district should not be housed in gyms or in decentralized accommodation.

“It is not our intention to let sport, whether school or leisure sport, bleed for this asylum policy,” Witschas continued. In addition, the district office does not want to “accommodate people who come to us, who do not know our culture, who do not know our regulations, here in apartment buildings and vacant apartments and to accept the threat to social peace”.

The district office does not want to go down these paths, the CDU district administrator emphasized in his Christmas message. In the past few days he has received numerous inquiries from Hoyerswerda, for example, where there have recently been talks about central refugee accommodation. However, the district council rejected this.

Criticism of the message came, among others, from Thuringia's Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left): A CDU member explains to the citizens why people seeking protection are not allowed to enter an empty apartment and then wishes "a blessed Christmas". "He didn't understand the Christmas story! Really not!” Ramelow tweeted.

Left-wing politician Caren Lay described it as unbelievable how the district administrator fueled the fear of asylum seekers instead of taking an offensive stance against the shift to the right.

Saxony's Economics Minister Martin Dulig spoke on Wednesday of an "enormous event". CDU leader Friedrich Merz said that he distanced himself from all right-wing extremist activities. "I expect the same here in Saxony," emphasized the SPD politician. He also pointed out that the state government was working on a package of measures to make Saxony attractive for immigration. "Hate speech disguised as a Christmas speech is the opposite of what we need." CDU Science Minister Sebastian Gemkow essentially agrees with Dulig. One wants to create a climate that makes it attractive for people from other countries - all activities that counteract this are detrimental, according to Gemkow.

The local CDU had already been criticized last week after the majority of the CDU in the district council of Bautzen approved a motion by the AfD on refugee policy. It was about integration services for asylum seekers who are required to leave the country.

Witschas himself spoke up again on Facebook on Wednesday afternoon and refused to accept the criticism. In particular, his statements were reproduced in a “greatly reduced version” on social media. However, his video “does not refer in general to the accommodation of asylum seekers”, but specifically to a district council resolution of December 12, 2022, in which a planned further community accommodation in the city of Hoyerswerda was rejected. He only reproduced the, quote, "concerns expressed to me by sports clubs and tenants in the city of Hoyerswerda".

"The allegation that asylum seekers are generally assumed to be irregular and that there is a general refusal to accommodate them is not correct," writes Witschas. The district will “of course fulfill” its humanitarian and legal task of accommodation. In this respect, however, he personally advocates “accommodation in housing projects with social care and help for integration” instead of simply providing living space. The district of Hoyerswerda has already successfully implemented such a project.

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