There are renewed calls in Germany for a freeze on deportations of rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan. Several groups are warning that as Afghanistan’s security situation worsens, the risks from COVID have become acute.
The asylum seeker advocacy organization Pro Asyl warned on Tuesday that the situation in Afghanistan was continuing to deteriorate. The warning came as a deportation was expected to take place from Munich airport on Tuesday, February 9.
The Robert Koch Institute, Germany's central authority for biomedicine, has classified the country as high risk, while the foreign office reports that the health system there is in a state of collapse, according to Pro Asyl.
A call by the Greens in the Bavarian state parliament for a freeze on deportations is due to be considered by a constitutional committee on Thursday. The Bavarian regional bishop and council chair of the Protestant Church in Germany, (EKD), Heinricht Bedford-Strohm, as well as the president of the Diakonie (the social welfare organization within the Protestant Church in Germany) in Bavaria, Michael Bammessel, also called for a deportation stop.
Deportations 'prohibited in principle'
A court in the state of Baden Württemberg in December ruled that deportations to Afghanistan were prohibited in principle. In a decision published last week, the court said that the coronavirus pandemic has worsened the economic situation in Afghanistan to the extent those who are deported are threatened with impoverishment.
"Without an income and without a support network or sufficient assets, … it is not possible to ensure one’s own survival in Afghanistan," the court said.
Germany suspended deportations to Afghanistan between March and November 2020. They resumed in December. This week's deportation from Munich was to be the second this year.
People in need in Afghanistan 'nearly doubled'
According to the United Nations, the number of people in need in Afghanistan has nearly doubled from 9.4 million in early 2020 to 18.4 million in early 2021. It is estimated that by March 2021, around 17 million people will be in crisis or in a situation of food insecurity.
According to the Global Peace Index, Afghanistan was the world’s most unsafe country for the second consecutive year in 2020. The Council on Foreign Relations, a US think tank, predicts that the security situation will continue to worsen in 2021.