It is an unusual step: the ambassadors of those eight EU states that still have a representative office in the Afghan capital Kabul recommend their governments to stop deportation in a joint report. Because of the advance of the Taliban and the poor security situation, the governments should think about suspending forced returns for the time being, says the report, which the German ambassador also signed. The same demand – only in stricter words – made on Tuesday 26 aid organizations to the federal government, including Pro Asyl, Bread for the World, Caritas and Diakonie.
“Germany must not turn a blind eye to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and must stop all deportations,” says the appeal. “The rule of law means that human rights principles are observed.” The international law non-rejection requirement, which is derived from the absolute prohibition of torture and prohibits deportations in the event of the most serious human rights violations to be expected, is one of them: “This prohibition of deportation applies regardless of individual behavior.”
But Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is following the opposite course: the CSU politician and his counterparts from Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Greece sent a letter to the EU Commission warning them not to suspend deportations. Because that would “send the wrong signal and probably motivate even more Afghans to leave their homeland for the EU,” it says three-sided letter.
Asylum policy is actually the competence of the member states. The ministers sent this letter to the commission to ask the authorities to put pressure on the Afghan government. The EU and Kabul only signed an agreement at the end of April to make it easier for Afghans to be sent back. But at the beginning of July the Afghan government announced that it would not accept any more deportations for three months. The six ministers complain that there is no basis for this step. That is why the commission should “intensify” its talks with Kabul so that deportations remain possible, the politicians demand. The “highest priority” must be to send back “especially Afghans who have committed serious crimes”.
SPD Chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz made a very similar statement: In a newspaper interview, he said that in general “it is our wish to deport those who have committed serious crimes”. In Germany, a deportation flight to Afghanistan was last canceled at the beginning of the month. The federal government wants to catch up with him as soon as possible.
Fear of a new refugee crisis
Behind the tough line of the six EU interior ministers is the fear that a refugee crisis like 2015 will repeat itself after the Afghan government collapses. At the moment, however, the situation at the EU borders is relaxed: a good 4,000 illegal immigrants from Afghanistan have been apprehended since the beginning of the year, a senior Commission official said on Tuesday. That is half less than in the same period last year.
A major concern of the Commission – like many national governments – is the fate of Afghans who worked for the EU or European governments in their country. The Commission is working intensively with member states to provide these local workers and their families with a secure future outside of Afghanistan, the official said.
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