Stop the financing of the Syrian torture state!
274.000€ per day forced by German authorities

The Assad regime received

213994000 € *

from Germany since the beginning of 2022.

German authorities force hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees to finance the Syrian torture state.


German authorities obligate Syrian refugees to obtain a valid passport from Assad's embassy in Berlin when renewing their residency or applying for German citizenship - this is called the obligation to procure a passport (German: Passbeschaffungspflicht). The Assad regime generates more than a hundred million Euros from Germany alone through this administrative practice. We argue that it is unreasonable to expect from Syrian refugees who have fled the Assad regime to cooperate with their oppressor. The German authorities, however, do not recognize this.

I don’t have a passport at the moment. That’s because I was asked to go to Assads embassy in Berlin, but I refused. I am a deserter of Assad’s army. I explained the reasons for my refusal to the German authorities along with the proof to support my claims. I have a copy of a search warrant against me from the Syrian military police. But the case worker ignored it, they said I had to go to the embassy regardless. I am furious.

Moro, 33

* Every year Assad generates more than a hundred million Euros from Germany alone, by taking advantage of this administrative practice.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees are forced to pay extortionate amounts to a regime that is responsible for the displacement, torture and death of their friends and family.

The Syrian passport is expensive

With prices between 500 to 1000 Euros, the Syrian passport is amongst the most expensive passports in the world. In most cases, Syrian passports must be renewed every 2 years.

Going to the embassy was always a very traumatic experience. It was like someone built a time machine and sent you back to Syria. Everything inside looks like the offices in Syria, the persons behind the desks are shouting, there is a big portrait of Assad hanging on the wall. There are people who have lost everything, their family and their home and they sit in this office, for hours, while Assad is looking down at them.

Nikola, 29

We demand: Defund Assad! Stop financing the Syrian torture state!

German lawmakers will have to change no laws to rid us of this injustice. All they need to do is to change an administrative practice by decree. This responsibility lies with the ministers of the interior of the German states. They, however, lack the necessary political will.


In view of this, together with a broad alliance of civil society organisations, we strongly urge the federal minister of the interior Nancy Faeser and the ministers of the German states to re-evaluate this practice and take corrective measures.


People and their stories

Our demands

  1. #DefundAssad. End the funding of autocrats through administrative practices.

  2. No cooperation with the oppressor. Residency and citizenship cannot be predicated on a refugee’s cooperation with her oppressors.

  3. Human rights are reasonable. To demand a refugee’s cooperation with their oppressor must be recognized as a generally unreasonable administrative practice.

  4. Everyone deserves protection. The federal government must ensure the protection of all those who fled Syria to Germany and must equip them with adequate travel documents.

Get involved

Increase the pressure on decision makers and send them our message!

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How you can also take action

Together with CampAct we demand: End financing the Syrian torture state!

With your donation you help us realise direct action, spread knowledge of this injustice and give us more resources to fight the German government in the long-term.

They asked me to go to the regimes embassy. But I refused and told them, that’s because, I, myself, was detained in Syria - and I fled Syria because my father disappeared in the regime’s prisons 9 years ago. The authorities asked me to bring them proof that my father was abducted by the secret police - they surely can’t be serious. I don’t want to fund my father’s torturers and the destruction of my home.

Wafa, 32

What is the obligation to procure a passport?

The obligation to procure a passport is relevant for refugees when renewing their residency or applying for citizenship.

There are two reasons, why German authorities would demand a passport from a refugee’s country of origin. On the one hand, everyone is required to have a passport in Germany. On the other hand, the passport is used to determine the identity of those seeking protection in Germany, for example when they renew their residency or make an application for German citizenship on the basis of naturalisation. If a valid passport cannot be presented to determine someone’s identity, these persons must submit an application for a passport to their respective embassy. An expired passport from their country of origin is often not recognised. In individual cases, the rules surrounding refugees passports can be waived for a limited period of time or documents replacing a passport can be issued. That's what we're all about at #DefundAssad.

The obligation to procure a passport is unreasonable for all Syrian refugees in Germany - often it is even unlawful.

Who is affected by the obligation to procure a passport?

The obligation to procure a passport affects above all, persons with subsidiary protection status*, persons who have a been found eligible of a deportation ban or who are family members of persons with protection status in Germany.

200.000 persons seeking protection in Germany obtained subsidiary protection status. Therefore they are forced to renew their passports for hundreds of Euros every two years.

*According to German law, persons with subsidiary protection status are neither officially recognised refugees nor eligible for asylum in Germany, but can demonstrate that they face the potential of serious harm in their country of origin.

Is this a new problem?

No. Persons with subsidiary protection status were exempt from the obligation to procure a passport up until 2018.

Up until then refugees with different kinds of legal status in Germany did not need to procure a passport at their respective embassies, for example when applying for German citizenship.

The federal minister of the interior at the time Hort Seehofer changed this administrative practice. Since 2018 persons with subsidiary protection status are faced with general reasonableness in the context of passport procurement.

In some cases, even officially recognised refugees are forced to obtain a new passport, even though in their case contacting their country of origin is legally recognized as unreasonable.

Reasonableness and Unreasonableness

These two words can be explained as follows:

  • "Reasonable": A duty or a measure is normal or still tolerable for the person in question.
  • "Unreasonable": A duty cannot be demanded of a person because it is overwhelming or no longer tolerable. Or that a measure (of the state) violates the rights of that person.

Reasonableness and unreasonableness are legal terms that are often used in the context of the obligation to procure a passport, but both terms are not actually legally defined. Accordingly, the individual case worker has the authority to interpret the term “unreasonableness” when the demand the procurement of a passport.

Almost always, based on the administrative practice, the authorities decide against the individual refugee.

What is the solution?

The general reasonableness of the obligation to procure a passport is not enshrined in law, but is an administrative practice. An administrative practice, as it is carried out in every local authority throughout Germany, can be changed by decree.

We can end the forced cooperation between persons with subsidiary protection status and their oppressor within months - the ministers of the interior of the German states and the federal minister Nancy Faeser only have to issue a decree.

Are only Syrian refugees and asylum seekers affected?

Syrians are the largest group among those with subsidiary protection. But of course, refugees from other countries of origin are also affected by the obligation to procure a passport, including people from Eritrea and Afghanistan.

Are there alternatives to the obligation to procure a passport?

A person's identity can be proven in many ways. The German authorities check the identity of a person in four stages:

  1. official identity documents. These include: passport, identity card, military ID card and the like.
  2. other official documents. These include: driver's license, birth certificate, certificate of good conduct and the like.
  3. other evidence. These include: Witnesses, rental agreement, employment contract and the like.
  4. Self-declaration of the person submitting it.

Accordingly, there exist a variety of ways to clarify the identity of refugees - not just the passport from the oppressor country.

Who is behind #DefundAssad?

#DefundAssad is a campaign by Adopt a Revolution. The recognized, non-profit organization has been supporting Syrian civil society in Syria and Germany for over 11 years.

#DefundAssad emerged from a survey of more than 1,000 Syrians on their experiences with passport procurement. This survey was conducted by Adopt a Revolution and is the first significant survey on the obligation to procure a passport for refugees in Germany. Our campaign is based on their results – the field reports and the facts.

Our small #DefundAssad team is made up of German and Syrian activists in Germany.

What will happen if I send the protest mail?

When you click the button to send the protest mail , your email client will open on your laptop or in your browser with an addressed and pre-written email.

In this email, you address the decision-maker you have selected. In the text you call for the fundamental recognition of the unreasonableness (“Unzumutbarkeit”) of the obligation to procure a passport for refugees from Syria , along with hundreds of other people. You just have to send it.

Pro tip: If you change the pre-written text a bit, your email will be even more effective - it can no longer be automatically sorted into a mail subfolder by the recipient.

What others report about us

As a journalist, my name is on a long list of people wanted by the Syrian central intelligence agency Mukhabarat. The German authorities didn't care - they insisted that I go to the embassy. I have paid hundreds of euros to a regime consulate that prevents me from living in a safe environment at home in Syria. To this day nobody can explain to me why I should pay money to the regime while it is internationally sanctioned?

Maysa, 61

Let's keep in touch!


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Write us

Do you want to learn more about the campaign or become active? Write us an email to: [email protected]

Our contact for journalists

Do you have questions about the campaign or want to request an interview? Please reach out to us directly:

Your contact:
Svenja Borgschulte
mobil: +49 163 784 391 2

E-Mail: [email protected]

My Syrian passport is currently expired. If I want to see my family or a friend in Jordan or Lebanon I can’t travel there, because I refuse to cooperate with a criminal government. Having a passport is a right, but I don’t want to go to the embassy and pay money to a government that will buy weapons with it. So what about my rights? I am still fighting the German authorities so that I can get alternative travel documents.

Wael, 38

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