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Afghanistan: Why people are not deported to the country

Afghanistan: Why people are not deported to the country

The fatal attack on a police officer has sparked a debate about whether deportations to unsafe countries such as Afghanistan should also be possible. Why are they not?

The fatal knife attack on a police officer in Mannheim has sparked a discussion about whether the rule of law should be even tougher – by allowing deportations to unsafe countries. Several politicians are calling for this, including Interior Minister Faeser’s SPD, who is currently having the matter examined in detail. So: just do it? It’s not that simple.

On Friday, a 25-year-old Afghan pulled out a knife and injured six men, including a young policeman, at an anti-Islam rally on Mannheim’s market square. The 29-year-old later died of his injuries. According to information from security sources, the suspect had not previously been noticed as a criminal or extremist. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office has taken over the investigation and suspects “religious reasons” behind the attack.

The man from the Afghan region of Herat is said to have come to Germany in 2013, when he was still a teenager, and applied for asylum, as several media reported. The application was rejected in 2014. However, he was not deported because a deportation ban was imposed – presumably because of his young age. Since 2023, the suspect is also said to have a temporary residence permit under Section 28 of the Residence Act, i.e. refugee status, because of his wife and children born here.

All of this would make deportation of the suspect considerably more difficult, even if he were convicted. Especially since repatriations to Afghanistan were suspended in August 2021 – in response to the Taliban’s seizure of power. A constitutional state also bears the responsibility for ensuring that deportations do not become a “danger for those involved,” said the then Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer of the CSU.

Mannheim has given new urgency to the discussion about the deportation stop. As early as December 2023, the Conference of Interior Ministers (IMK), an association of interior ministers and senators from all federal states, had sent a corresponding request to the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI): According to the resolution paper, the BMI should examine how deportations and controlled voluntary departures of serious criminals and dangerous persons to their countries of origin, including Afghanistan and Syria, can be carried out.

No deportations to Afghanistan for “good reason”

Hamburg’s Interior Senator Andy Grote of the SPD is now increasing the pressure to relax the deportation bans. On Monday, he presented a draft resolution to the Conference of Interior Ministers, which will meet again on June 19. The title of the motion, which has been reported on by several media outlets, makes Grote’s expectations clear: “Repatriation of people who pose a threat to public safety – including to Afghanistan and Syria.”

According to the initiative, foreigners who commit serious criminal offenses should be able to be deported to their homeland, even if their country is considered an unsafe country of origin. To this end, the Foreign Office should reassess the security situation in Afghanistan and Syria so that existing international flight connections can also be used for repatriations. Dirk Wiese, deputy SPD parliamentary group leader, supports the proposal: “After the understandable temporary deportation stop, the Foreign Office should finally clear the way for deportations to Afghanistan to be able to be carried out again in the future,” Wiese told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”.

However, it is currently not apparent that Foreign Minister Baerbock could change her security assessment. Germany is not deporting people to Afghanistan for “good reasons,” Baerbock said a year ago. With the Taliban’s “reign of terror,” the country has “fallen back into the Stone Age.” The “brutal dictator Assad” also continues to rule Syria.

Especially since Omid Nouripour, co-chair of the Green Party, warned against deportations to Afghanistan on Monday. “A repatriation agreement with Afghanistan would mean paying a price for it,” he said in Berlin. The deals of the last few years have shown this. Paying money to the Taliban “would strengthen the Islamist scene and that is not a solution.”

Security comes before the right to remain, emphasized Interior Minister Faeser on Tuesday at a press conference in Berlin, which was primarily to focus on security measures for the upcoming European Football Championship. The date had been set for some time. “The perpetrator must be punished with the maximum severity of the law,” emphasized Faeser. The constitutional state takes the Islamist threat very seriously, and the authorities have the scene firmly in their sights.

In addition, the Interior Minister has been conducting “intensive” research for months into how serious criminals and dangerous individuals can be deported to Afghanistan again. A decision should be made as quickly as possible, said Faeser, but it must be “court-proof”. The legal hurdles are high, as the Bundestag’s Research Service recently stated in a status report (April 2024). According to the report, deportations are generally not possible due to the political situations in Afghanistan and Syria, but also due to the current legal situation.

Source: Stern

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