On Tuesday, August 14, 2018, another deportation flight to Afghanistan from Munich airport took place. | Credit: Imago, M. Trammer
On Tuesday, August 14, 2018, another deportation flight to Afghanistan from Munich airport took place. | Credit: Imago, M. Trammer

Germany has extended its deportation halt on Syrians for the rest of the year. However, deportations of Afghans will continue.

Germany's regional interior ministers met over three days in Kiel last week which concluded Friday June 14. During that meeting many themes were discussed, including whether or not to extend the halt on deportation to countries like Syria. On Friday, the gathered ministers concluded that it would extend the deportation stop for Syrian refugees until the end of 2019.

Boris Pistorius, Lower Saxony's Minister of the Interior and a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), said that further information would be needed in the autumn before deciding whether or not to start sending back anyone commiting an offense, those who pose a public danger or those who falsify their identity from 2020. He added that based on the current situation he couldn't see the situation improving much by then.

Bavaria's Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann from the conservative CSU party, told AFP that he expects the German government to present a new assessment of the situation in Syria by autumn. Large parts of the war-torn nation are now under President Bashar al-Assad's control, which means his supporters should not feel threatened in the country. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer agreed that there should be a new assessment on Syria later in 2019. 

Afghan deportations continue

The Conference of Interior Ministers could not decide on a nationwide policy on whether or not they should deport rejected asylum seekers from Afghanistan. Thus, these deportations will continue in those states which already have a policy of sending people back. Minister Pistorius said that Afghanistan was not a place that innocent people should be sent back and confirmed the SPD regional policy of only sending those who commit crimes, pose a danger or have falsified their identity back to Afghanistan.

Pistorius called for the number of police personnel involved in deportations to be increased from 1300 to 2000. He said it would be a shame for deportations to fail just because a lack of police officers. He also called for more support from German police officers for the police force in Afghanistan.

Germany has deported a total of 589 Afghan men in 24 previous flights since December 2016. Another flight is scheduled to arrive in Kabul early Tuesday, according to an official of the Afghan Ministry of the Refugees and Repatriations (MORR).

These repatriations have been controversial, with critics saying the country is too dangerous to send asylum seekers back. Some like the Hamburg Archibishop Stefan Heße called sending people back to Afghanistan "irresponsible," according to the German press agency DPD. People in the country are subject to attacks by the Taliban and the Islamic State. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) stopped providing shelter and accommodation to deported migrants from Europe at the end of April. The IOM said this was scrapped after just 6 percent of deported migrants requested temporary accommodation.

The IOM now gives rejected asylum seekers 167 dollars (149 euros) upon arrival in Kabul, as well as a leaflet with information on hotels and other important information they might need.


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