Now that the flow of migrants into Europe has subsided with the Balkan route closed, the agreement with Turkey not to let people enter via Greece in place and the understanding that the Libyan coast guard will stop boats from reaching Italy, Europe is faced with a new problem. The UN’s security council is being bombarded with demands from NGO’s and other human rights organizations not to allow European countries to send back citizens of Afghanistan to this war-torn country.
Currently, some 170,000 Afghans, which make up the largest number of asylum applications in the EU, have a case pending for acceptance into an EU member state (in 90% of cases a Western European nation), but most still get refused as the EU considers some parts of Afghanistan, such as the capital Kabul, to be safe.
Amnesty International has now accused Germany and other European countries (Sweden and the UK amongst others) of breaking international law by deporting Afghans at a time when civilian casualties in the country are at their highest for years.
The UN secretary-general, Mr. Antonio Guterres, stated: “Targeted killings and abductions increased by 16% compared with the same period in 2016.”
Meanwhile, in Germany, the forced repatriations have gotten protests started at airports, where Human Rights organizations are now showing signs reading “Don’t send people back to die” to the German pilots, some of which have now refused to fly repatriation planes.
Ms. Heiko Habbe, a lawyer working for a church-based legal aid center in Hamburg said: “This is a matter of internal politics. Our government immediately announced deporting people after there was a rise in asylum seekers coming to Germany in October 2015. Then one month later we were told that some areas of Afghanistan were ‘safe’.
“In 2016 deportations started and it has no relation to the situation in Afghanistan, which has been deteriorating ever since, but it is being done to show the government is doing something about the migration crisis.”
To make deportation go easier, the German government has now offered a cash bonus to asylum seeker leaving before February in the form of a new departure bonus of up to €3,000 per family.