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'Send asylum-seekers to islands': AfD leader

August 14, 2016

The head of the Alternative for Germany party has suggested sending rejected asylum- seekers and illegal immigrants to islands outside of Europe. The model has been applied in Australia.

Head of the Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) political party pictured at the party's federal congress on April 30, 2016 in Stuttgart, Germany (Photo: Thomas Johnes/Getty Images)
Image: Getty Images/T. Lohnes

Frauke Petry, head of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), believes that the role of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) should be that of an authority that can "reverse migration."

"Illegal migrants and asylum-seekers whose applications are rejected will be accommodated on the two islands outside Europe that are protected by the United Nations," Petry suggested in an interview with the Bild newspaper.

"I propose the transformation of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees into an office for emigration, which ensures that all illegal migrants leave this land as soon as possible," Petry said.

The influx of more than 1 million refugees into Germany last year fueled support for the anti-immigrant AfD. The party now has representation in eight of Germany's 16 states and is expected to perform well in state votes next month in Berlin and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

"So far in 2016, there have only been 13,743 deportations, which is absurd given the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who are in Germany," Petry said, citing figures from the German police published last month.

Despite criticism of Petry's statements, the proposal has a precedent. In Australia, the authorities stop asylum seekers at sea and transfer them to reception centers on the remote islands of Nauru in the Pacific and Manus in Papua New Guinea.

Human rights groups criticize the Australian government's treatment of refugees.

shs/rc (Reuters, dpa)