Planned deportation of Afghan refugees fails

11th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

11 May 2005, HAMBURG - The planned deportation of a group of six Afghan refugees from the German city-state of Hamburg has run into difficulties, officials said on Wednesday, with just one of the six to be sent home.

11 May 2005

HAMBURG - The planned deportation of a group of six Afghan refugees from the German city-state of Hamburg has run into difficulties, officials said on Wednesday, with just one of the six to be sent home.

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.

However a spokesperson for Hamburg's Office for Interior Affairs said on Wednesday that four of the six had made applications for asylum which would delay the deportation process, and a fifth had announced a surprise engagement to a German woman.

The one Afghan to be sent back meanwhile had been convicted of a crime and would have been deported anyway even under the old moratorium.

Hamburg Interior Minister Udo Nagel commented on the developments on Wednesday saying "I had expected some resistance". He said it was up to each individual whether to apply for asylum.

"Hamburg will be sticking to its plans for forced repatriation," Nagel stressed.

The developments will be closely watched by other state authorities.

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 illegal Afghans in Germany.

According to Hamburg officials, some 3,000 Afghan nationals in the city were liable for possible deportation after the 30 April deadline. Altogether, some 15,000 Afghans live in the city.

The next possible date for deporting Afghan nationals from Hamburg falls on 18 May.

Meanwhile members of the Afghan community in the city announced plans for a demonstration to protest against the deportation plans.

DPA

Subject: German news

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