Brussels/Kabul, 10 August 2021 (dpa/MIA) – The EU ambassadors in Afghanistan recommend suspending deportations to the crisis-hit country for the time being due to a massively deteriorating security situation.
In view of the worsening conflict, the precarious security and human rights situation as well as the lack of safe spaces in the country, they recommend a temporary suspension of forced repatriations from EU member states to Afghanistan, according to a report by EU heads of mission in Kabul sent to member states on Tuesday, excerpts of which were made available to dpa.
Recently, the Afghan Refugee Ministry called on EU and other European countries to halt deportations for three months starting in July.
The militant Islamist Taliban now control almost half of the country’s districts.
EU member states were also advised to increase support for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN refugee agency in Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, as these countries are expected to receive the largest influx of refugees from Afghanistan.
It is unusual for such a recommendation to be expressed, as migration issues are actually the competence of member states. The heads of mission on the ground can analyse and question certain issues, but cannot intervene in capital decisions.
Eight EU countries still operate embassies in Kabul, including Germany. All heads of mission have signed the report.
The European Commission also confirmed on Tuesday that it had received a letter from Germany and five other member states opposing the suspension of deportations.
In the letter, which was obtained by dpa, the interior ministers of the six states call on the commission to move forward with returns in dialogue with Afghanistan. A suspension of returns would motivate more Afghan citizens to migrate to the EU.
In Germany, the debate about a possible halt to deportations has intensified. Most recently, a planned deportation flight was cancelled at the beginning of August.
The Berlin government, however, is sticking to the deportations. The Federal Ministry of the Interior said that the cancelled flight should be reinstated as soon as possible.
Amnesty International and 25 other organizations have called for an immediate halt to the deportation of rejected asylum seekers from Germany.
“Germany too must not close its eyes to the ever worsening situation in Afghanistan and must stop all deportations,” reads a joint statement signed by German non-governmental organizations Pro Asyl, Brot fuer die Welt and Arbeiterwohlfahrt, among others.
“The rule of law means that human rights principles are respected. They must not be put up for negotiation in an election campaign either.”
Since 2016, more than 1,000 migrants have been returned to Afghanistan, mostly criminals.