Hamburg postpones attempt to deport refugees

17th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

17 May 2005, HAMBURG - Authorities in the German city-state of Hamburg said on Tuesday that a second attempt to start deporting Afghan refugees scheduled for Wednesday was being postponed.

17 May 2005

HAMBURG - Authorities in the German city-state of Hamburg said on Tuesday that a second attempt to start deporting Afghan refugees scheduled for Wednesday was being postponed.

The Interior Affairs office gave no reason for the postponement, but an office spokesman said that a deportation could take place on the next possible date, Wednesday of next week.

The development comes a week after Hamburg's first attempt to start returning Afghan men back to their country went awry, when only one of a scheduled six was sent back. Four others filed applications for asylum while a fifth announced a surprise engagement to a German woman.

The deportation is widely viewed as a test case following the 30 April expiration of a nationwide moratorium which had for the past number of years ensured that Afghan refugees could not be repatriated against their will.

Some 15,000 Afghan nationals live in Hamburg. Of these, 3,000 are classified as being liable for deportation. A further 2,000 have asylum applications pending, most of which were expected to be rejected, which would put them on the list for repatriation.

Heading the list of those to be repatriated are single men between the ages of 18 and 60 years.

Afghan groups in the city have staged angry protests at the deportation plans, which have also been plagued in some instances by bureaucratic mistakes.

Under German law, immigration authorities are not permitted to return refugees to countries still torn by conflict. The issue of repatriating some of the thousands of Afghan refugees in Germany - 72,000 in 2001 - had however arisen following the ousting of the Taleban regime.

The country's 16 states had agreed a series of nationwide moratoriums on deportation of Afghan refugees.

The last moratorium, which expired 30 April, was the only deportation ban not to have been extended, indicating that time had finally run out for Afghan refugees in Germany.

DPA

Subject: German news

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