Last week the third collective deportation to Afghanistan was carried out from Munich, Germany. While criticism on forced removals to Afghanistan persists, the German government has issued a proposal to enhance the efficiency of removal orders.

The deportation of 18 young men to Kabul last Wednesday was met with criticism. The German Commissioner for Human Rights stated prior to the deportation that security in Afghanistan is not guaranteed anywhere. This mirrors the findings of the latest United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) report, highlighting that in 2016 the country had the highest civilian death toll since the Mission started recording deaths in 2009. Additionally, media reports that on a federal level five federal states, Schleswig-Holstein, Berlin, Bremen, Lower Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate, have halted deportation of Afghans, only excluding persons with a criminal record.

Meanwhile, the German government has proposed a reform to enhance the efficiency of removal orders. The proposal has been widely criticised by 20 organisations, among them UNICEF. Among the changes are the introduction of the right to access personal mobile phone data for the determination of identity and nationality of asylum seekers; this is, according to ECRE Member Pro Asyl not in line with German fundamental law as it violates personal privacy safeguards. Further, the German government proposed that people with tolerated stay, who have in the past hidden their identity or have not cooperated fully in their return order, can be deported without prior announcement. Another heavily criticised change is that people who have “low expectancy” to be granted international protection will have to stay in first reception centres until their asylum claim is reviewed. This is expected to have severe consequences for children, as reception conditions in first reception centres are not child friendly and access to schooling will be curtailed for many.

The Parliament is expected to have its first hearing on the proposal this month. This week the European Commission has issued recommendations to strengthen returns on a European level.

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Photo: (cc) Sebastian Scholl