Is it possible to file complaints in accommodations?

As yet there is no consistent nationwide com-plaint structure for refugees and their supporters.[3] Currently, different groups of per-sons address their complaints to various actors within and outside of shelters.

It should be possible to address complaints to all parties active within a shelter (management, staff, inhabitant representatives, external expert bodies or cooperation partners as well as volunteers).

Which higher-level actors can be approached?

Unless there are no formally defined complaint structures, the following actors are among the potential addressees of complaints:

a) actors capable of influencing political processes:

  • regional and supraregional refugee and migrant self-organisations
  • political interest groups (e.g. Refugee Council, ProAsyl, anti-discrimination offices)
  • ombudspersons for refugees (e.g. in Cologne, Berlin or Hamburg, Baden-Württemberg)
  • specialist services concerned with migration
  • International Women’s Space Berlin (IWS) is  a feminist political group of women with experiences of migration and flight. Among a variety of other things, this group collects complaints pertaining to refugee shelters.
  • complaints from all over Germany can be send to the following email address:

b) actors with political responsibilities and decision-making power

  • public administration bodies (e.g. Federal Refugee Office, regional authorities, citizens’ offices)

The “Minimum Standards for the Protection of Children, Adolescents and Women in  Refugee Accommodation Shelters”, issued by the fede-ral initiative of the Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) and UNICEF, demands the establishment of both internal and external complaint offices.

Further information


[3] The state of North Rhine-Westphalia constitutes an exception as it provides funding a complaint office in every state shelter. Moreover, the state has arranged for a supraregional coordination office, mobile controlling team as well as a round-table located at the state’s ministry of internal affairs.