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Demonstrators in Leipzig decry Afghan deportations

October 24, 2017

Deportations from Germany have resumed after a lengthy moratorium. Protestors noted the recent spate of violence in Kabul, criticizing the government's decision to list Afghanistan as a safe country of origin.

Flughafen Leipzig/Halle Abschiebung abgelehnter Asylbewerber
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/H. Schmidt

About 150 people gathered at Leipzig's airport in the eastern German state of Saxony on Tuesday to protest the deportation of an unknown number of people from Afghanistan whose asylum applications had been rejected.

Deportations to Afghanistan are increasingly controversial as violence and persecution remain widespread in swaths of the country.

No future for Afghan deportees

"I don't know who is sitting in that airplane," said Left party politician Juliane Nagel, "but even prisoners shouldn't be exposed to dangers."

In July, the Federal Foreign Office declared that in some cases, Afghanistan could be considered a safe country of origin.

"Taking into account the circumstances of each individual case," the office said in a statement, "deportation to certain regions is responsible and possible."

However, in just the past few weeks, a series of attacks in the capital Kabul killed about 250 civilians and security forces.

Saxony's Interior Minister Markus Ulbig was adamant that the deportations were a necessary step. Ulbig, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), told German press agency DPA that "anyone who has been found to have no right to remain here after completing an asylum procedure and going through all the proper government channels must leave our country."

Over the northern hemisphere summer, deportations to Afghanistan resumed after a long moratorium put in place in the wake of a December 2016 attack in Kabul that left 150 people dead near the German embassy.

Elizabeth Schumacher
Elizabeth Schumacher Elizabeth Schumacher reports on gender equity, immigration, poverty and education in Germany.