In a report published following a visit to Germany in April 2019, ECRE examines gaps and compliance with procedural guarantees in the airport procedure implemented in the airports of Frankfurt/Main and Munich.

The airport procedure in Germany has been described as a “black box” due to its obscurity, lack of quality, and limited amenability to scrutiny. Although the number of claims processed at airports representing less than 1% of the total caseload before the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), the airport procedure is marred by severe deficiencies in practice.

Among other concerns, the report highlights that asylum seekers navigate highly truncated procedures without comprehensible information and adequate interpretation. The BAMF is reported to make superficial and inadequate assessments of the reasons for flight from the country of origin and maintains a restrictive stance aimed at filtering out claims, going beyond the scope of cases that should be deemed “manifestly unfounded” in line with the German Asylum Act.

Furthermore, applicants with special procedural needs such as pregnant women or persons with disabilities are subjected to lengthy interviews with the BAMF without benefitting from “adequate support” guaranteed to them by the recast Asylum Procedures Directive.

Finally, the report emphasizes that procedural deficiencies are exacerbated by the conduct of the entire airport procedure in a regime of de facto deprivation of liberty, without effective access to means of communication or remedies against arbitrary detention. In that respect, ECRE is particularly concerned by the persisting failure of German authorities to comply with Strasbourg jurisprudence on the right to liberty in airport transit zones.

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin . You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.