Germany to increase deportations of refugees
24 June 2005, BERLIN - Political leaders in Germany on Friday agreed to vastly increase deportations of refugees to Afghanistan and Kosovo following expiration of a nationwide moratorium.
24 June 2005
BERLIN - Political leaders in Germany on Friday agreed to vastly increase deportations of refugees to Afghanistan and Kosovo following expiration of a nationwide moratorium.
In addition, Iraqi refugees convicted of offences in Germany will also be deported to their home country as soon as the security situation there permits, it was agreed.
The agreements came at the end of two days of at times acrimonious discussions among interior ministers of Germany's 16 regional states. In Germany, enforcement of immigration laws falls under regional jurisdiction.
On European immigration, the ministers agreed to limit immigration of Jews from eastern Europe to those who can support themselves financially and who speak fluent German.
A moratorium on deportations of political refugees, primarily those from Afghanistan, expired last April 30.
Authorities in the city-state of Hamburg became the first in Germany in May to start deporting Afghan refugees, though so far only a handful of 'volunteer' deportees and convicted felons have actually left.
Friday's agreement paves the way for much larger numbers of refugees to be deported, not just those with criminal records.
Critics of the agreement said it would tear apart families. Those in favour said it was necessary for security reasons.
"Permitting members of ethnic minorities from Kosovo to remain in Germany indefinitely works counter to efforts toward integrating ethnic groups in Kosovo," said Heribert Rech from Baden-Wuerttemberg.
"Against the backdrop of combatting terrorism, we have no choice but to give priority to deportation of Islamic extremists," he added.
He also noted that Afghanistan's minister of refugee affairs, Mohammad Azam Dadfar, agreed with Hamburg authorities to accept back 10 to 15 refugees per month.
"We take that as tacit approval," Rech said.
Dadfar told a German news magazine in May that Germany had the "same right as any other country to send refugees back to the country of origin".
Subject: German news