From file: Officials escort a failed asylum seeker on a deportation flight from Germany | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/M.Kappeler
From file: Officials escort a failed asylum seeker on a deportation flight from Germany | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/M.Kappeler

4,088 people were deported from Germany to their countries of origin or other European states in the first quarter of this year, around 27% fewer than the same period last year. The Left party says deportations should be called off completetely in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to figures released by the German government in response to an inquiry by the Left party (Die Linke), 4,088 people were deported from Germany between January and March of this year. Most were returned to Italy, France, Serbia, Albania and Georgia, reports the Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper citing the government document.

During the same period last year, the figure stood at 5,613, meaning the figure dropped by 1,525, or around 27%.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, most chartered deportation flights scheduled for March were cancelled. Countries of origin denied entry or suspended air traffic altogether, the news agency KNA reports. 

Deportations on regular flights too were reduced significantly. However, states and the federal government still attempted to conduct deportations where possible, the Osnabrücker Zeitung reports.

General ban on deportations

The interior ministry so far rejected implementing a general stop of deportations in light of the coronavirus pandemic, a decision that Left Party parliamentarian Ulla Jelpke criticizes.

"In many countries of origin and transit countries, refugees not only face persecution, war and a lack of perspective, there are also no functioning health systems in place," she told the Osnabrücker Zeitung.

Jelpke warns that deportations from Germany will increase again as travel restrictions are eased and more countries are reopening their borders. The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, said Jelpke. She called for a general and nationwide ban on deportations.

Dublin transfers suspended

At the beginning of April, the German government, in response to a request by Afghan authorities, announced it would indefinitely stop deportations of failed asylum seekers to Afghanistan.

Germany officially suspended all Dublin returns to Italy in late February due to the COVID-19 crisis. At the end of March, the German government said that Dublin transfers (to other EU member states, plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) would not take place "until further notice" but that deportations to third countries could still take place. 

The German Office for Migration and Refugees BAMF has pointed out that the suspension does not imply that the Dublin states are no longer obliged to take responsibility for examining asylum claims, only that it was temporarily impossible to carry out transfers.

With dpa, KNA


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