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Germany

Mass deportation of rejected Afghan asylum seekers from Germany imminent: report

A German news website says a flight returning failed Afghan asylum applicants to Afghanistan is due to take place soon. A refugee advocacy group has called on Green party members to try and stop the measure.

A first charter flight carrying a group of rejected Afghan asylum seekers back to their home country is to leave Germany on Wednesday evening, German news website "Spiegel Online" has reported.

The report said that 50 Afghans would be on board the flight from Frankfurt to Kabul, which is to be just the first in a series of such deportations, with the next one planned for January.

A spokeswoman for the German Interior Ministry would not confirm the date for the first flight to Afghanistan, but did say that one would take place by the end of the year. She said the time and place were being kept confidential so as not to endanger the measure, which was agreed as part of a deal with the Afghan government in October.

According to "Spiegel", the Afghan returnees will first be handed over to local authorities before returning to their home regions, if these are considered to be "halfway safe."

Controversial measure

The planned mass deportations have provoked several protests in past weeks, with critics saying that many regions are still not viewed as secure and that the people returning might face reprisals.

The German refugee advocacy group Pro Asyl on Wednesday appealed to state parliamentarians from the Green party to prevent the deportations.

Afghan refugees protest at Afghan deal (DW/S. Ali)

Afghan refugees have also protested at the deportation deal

"We explicitly appeal to the Greens in Hesse, Baden-Württemberg and Hamburg to do everything to ensure that these people are not deported," director Günter Burkhardt said. "Simply flying people to Kabul and leaving them to their uncertain fate is irresponsible."

'Sending a signal to would-be asylum seekers'

Burkhardt also believed that the first mass deportation would take place on Wednesday evening from Frankfurt. Protesters are reportedly preparing to hold a rally at the airport.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, has frequently defended the measure of mass deportation, saying that many parts of Afghanistan were secure enough to allow Germany to deport people there under its laws on asylum.

He says he wants to send a signal that not all refugees from Afghanistan can be given asylum in Germany.

tj/msh (dpa, Reuters)

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