Afghan asylum seekers in Germany are increasingly succeeding in their appeals to German courts to be allowed to remain in the country, according to government data.
The data pertaining to the success rate of appeals against scheduled deportations to Afghanistan was recently made public in response to a question for information from a member of Die Linke, The Left party in parliament.
Of 4,212 asylum decisions for Afghan nationals made between January and May this year, 3,203 applicants were granted protection in Germany, while 1,009 claims were rejected. That's according to a reply by Germany's Interior Ministry to a question from Ulla Jelpke, a Left Party lawmaker.
The rate means claimants succeeded in some 76% of lawsuits that were formally accepted.
German news agency dpa reported that "a further 2,418 cases were resolved otherwise or concerned decisions about the responsibility of EU states for the plaintiff, in line with the Dublin regulation, which stipulates that asylum claims are to be handled by the country where migrants first entered the EU."
Ulla Jelpke tweeted the information on August 2, making a point that whilst members of the CDU/CSU-led government were busy saying they supported deportations in certain cases in a "right-wing populist manner," more and more Afghans were winning their cases for protection in the courts.
The information provided by the ministry also shows an uptick in the success rate of Afghan applicants in appeals against German asylum decisions. Between January and May last year, some 55% of substantive claims succeeded, with the figure rising to 60% for the year as a whole.
Despite the numbers, the German government has continued to state it is pressing ahead with the deportation of rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan, even as the militant Islamist Taliban advances, following the withdrawal of international troops from the country.
Human rights court halts deportation flight
On Tuesday (August 3) in the afternoon, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) too issued an urgent measure against a deportation to Afghanistan. According to the Protestant News Service (epd), a ECHR spokesperson confirmed that the action took place on the previous day and cited looming irreparable damage as a reason.
Epd and Reuters reported that an Austrian non-governmental organization offering counselling to deserters and refugees made the request on behalf of an affected person.
Germany's largest pro-immigration advocacy organization, Pro Asyl, said on Twitter that the German government had wanted to take part in an Austrian deportation flight, which was affected by the court decision. According to Pro Asyl, Austria cancelled the flight as a reaction to the court decision.
A spokesperson from the Interior Ministry denied that such a flight was planned. So far this year, 167 people have been deported to Afghanistan from Germany.
On Sunday (August 1), German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said he sees no reason why criminals cannot continue to be deported -- despite the recent advances of the Taliban in Afghanistan. But Pro Asyl said that it is not just criminals who have been deported, but also well-integrated migrants.
On Tuesday (August 3), Pro Asyl accused the German government of recklessly pushing on with the deportations.
"It is completely irresponsible to continue deporting people to Afghanistan despite the advances of the Taliban," Wiebke Judith of Pro Asyl said.
Since 2016, more than 1,000 people have been deported from Germany to Afghanistan, all of them male so-called "Terrorgefährder" (people who may pose a terrorist threat).
Alexander Dobrindt, a member of Angela Merkel's ruling conservative CDU party, said deporting these people must be still be possible. "There is no argument that people abusing our right to protection by committing serious crimes can stay in Germany," the conservative politician said. "Whoever does that forfeits his right to stay -- regardless of the situation in their home country."
However, the co-chairman of the Green Party, Robert Habeck, said the security situation in Afghanistan was massively deteriorating with the advances of the Taliban. Under these circumstances, one could not deport people to a place where they face torture or death. "Perpetrators would need to serve their just sentence here in Germany," Habeck said.
The deportations have been deeply controversial for a while, with critics saying the war-torn country is too dangerous to send asylum seekers back. With the beginning of the NATO withdrawal in May, the Taliban has launched several offensives and extended their control over further areas in Afghanistan.
Almost daily attacks and an increase in military offensives by the Taliban are taking a toll on civilians. Tens of thousands of people have fled fighting inside the country. The Islamic State militia is also active in the country.
"The Interior Ministry said it was still considering a call by the Afghan government to suspend deportations to the country given the increasing violence and rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country," dpa reported.
Politician Jelpke, who focuses on domestic policy in the Left Party parliamentary group, said she did not understand why the process was taking so long.
"From my point of view it is absolutely clear that there must not be a single further deportation to Afghanistan," she said. She added that 2,392 civilians had been injured or killed in May and June alone, citing figures provided by the UN Mission for Afghanistan.
with dpa, epd