This week the first summary deportation of rejected asylum seekers from Afghanistan to Kabul took place. According to media 26 men have been deported from Frankfurt to Kabul. This is the second summary deportation to Afghanistan carried out from Germany.

The first collective deportations to Afghanistan took place on 14th December last year, where 34 people were deported to Kabul out of 50 initially planned. The deportations could potentially be stopped – in some cases only at the last minute.

In the last deportation, a rumour the Federal Minister for the Interior, de Maizière, stated later in a press release  that “about a third” of the group had committed crimes and talked about a whole host of accusations, however he gave no further details. Additionally, Pro Asyl holds information, of varying detail, from a variety of sources on 23 of the affected people, some of whom were deported as part of the group, whose deportation could be prevented for the time being. These sources draw a different picture from that painted by the de Maizière.

The people are between 21 and 57 years of age and had mostly been in Germany for between two and five years; some even longer. Some of them had started apprenticeships or were already in employment. Many were in medical care, for instance for psychological issues. For most of these 23 people there is no evidence of any offending. So far, investigations have only revealed that at least one person was collected directly from detention in Hamburg, and that, according to an information request from the Ministry for the Interior in North Rhine-Westphalia, five of the deportees from that region were “delinquents”, although apparently only three of those had been convicted by a court of law, while two court procedures were still ongoing.

The identities of those individuals to be deported this week also remain unclear. What is certain, especially given the approach taken with December’s deportations, is that separate investigations into each individual case, the existence of which was publicly admitted by the federal states, have clearly not taken place.

This clearly shows that there is an attempt to tarnish the entire group of deportees with the same brush and to create a general suspicion of “delinquency”.  By further stressing the fact that the deportees are “young, single men” the inhibition threshold for deportations to a war-torn and crisis-ridden region is lowered and public acceptance for such a practice is created. This is done in order to build public acceptance for deportations to a region of crisis and war.

Upon arrival in Afghanistan media has reported on the lack of support provided to deportees.

If at all, shelter is provided only for a matter of weeks, and financial support is very low, even by Afghan standards. What compounds the problem is that currently thousands of Afghans are forced to return to their home country from neighbouring nations such as Pakistan and their situation is equally precarious.

By carrying out these deportations, the Federal Ministry of the Interior is completely ignoring the security situation in Afghanistan. Even a specially commissioned UNHCR report states “with reference to the interpretation of the term ‘internal armed conflict’ by the European Court of Justice in the case Diakité […] the entire state territory of Afghanistan is affected by an internal armed conflict as per Article 15(c) of the EU Qualification Directive.” Even this cannot deter de Maizière from his path.

It is evident that the problem of deporting asylum seekers starts with the decreasing recognition rates of Afghan asylum seekers, as is occurring all over Europe. In Germany, the recognition rate for Afghans has decreased by 16.4% between 2015 to 2016. Other European countries, such as Norway are showing an even sharper decline of more than 50%.

While declining recognition rates and asylum requests as well as increasing deportation rates seem to become a synonym for political success all over Europe, it is important to remember that for people affected by these policies it remains a question of life and death.

Pro Asyl has published advice for Afghan refugees in Germany and their advisors. To find out more, please click here

Photo: Pro Asyl