From file: Preparing for a collective deportation flight can take up several weeks, involving dozens of police officers from beginning to end | COPYRIGHT: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Kappeler
From file: Preparing for a collective deportation flight can take up several weeks, involving dozens of police officers from beginning to end | COPYRIGHT: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Kappeler

Germany has suspended deportations to Afghanistan for the time being. The decision comes as a response to a request by Afghan authorities, the German interior ministry said.

Due to the current coronavirus crisis and associated travel restrictions, the German government announced it would indefinitely stop deportations of failed asylum seekers to Afghanistan.

The decision comes after Afghan authorities had requested the German government to suspend the deportations, a spokesperson of the interior ministry told German media on Monday.  

The transfer of asylum seekers from Germany to other EU member states (so-called Dublin transfers) had already been suspended last week.

Concern in Afghanistan

According to WHO data on March 31, Afghanistan has registered 166 infections and 4 deaths related to Covid-19. Afghanistan's health ministry has warned that more than 110,000 people could die as a result of the novel coronavirus spreading.

Recent mass returns of Afghan migrants from Iran have also led to concerns about increased transmission rates of the coronavirus disease in Afghanistan.

Deportations to Afghanistan

Germany started deporting rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan in 2016. The last flight left Germany on March 12. In total, 907 men were sent back to war-torn Afghanistan during this time.

Deportations to Afghanistan remain a sticking point in German politics. Decisions on how to deal with failed asylum seekers are taken at the state-level in Germany. Some German states deport only those who have been convicted of serious crimes, while other parts of the country – such as the state of Bavaria – also deport non-criminal single Afghan men whose asylum application has been rejected.

With material from dpa

••• ➤ Also read: At the end of the road: A look at deportations from Germany

 

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