Thursday, June 01, 2017

Deportations of Afghans a black mark on Germany's image

Another item on CBC's As It Happens program yesterday came as something of a surprise, at least to me.
We are used to thinking of Germany as being an open and welcoming country, and one taking much more than its fair share of refugees, particularly from the war-torn Middle East. But it seems that, for some time now, the Germany has been deporting refugee Afghans back to Afghanistan by the planeload, in an attempt to deter other Afghans from seeking refugee status there, and on the supposed grounds that the country is now safe to return to.
The deportation program has been temporarily suspended in the wake of yesterday's massive suicide car bombing in Kabul - ironically, Kabul is one of the regions of the country flagged by Germany as "safe", although yesterday's blast occurred in one of the capital's most secure neighbourhoods, and both the German and Canadian embassy buildings were damaged - but they are expected to start up again soon. The German press release yesterday suggests, rather callously, that they have "more important things to do than to prepare the organizational measures needed", giving the impression that the current hiatus in deportations is more do with paperwork than with a genuine concern for the safety of the deported individuals. It seems that some deported of the Afghans have been injured or even killed, and many have already left the country again in desperation.
What is perhaps even more shocking is the report of some of the techniques Germany is employing in their pursuit of the deportations, from the use of batons and dogs, to the surprise visits in the middle of the night or at school or work, eerily reminiscent of 1930s Gestapo techniques. Not the image of modern progressive Germany we are used to.
Several organizations, including the Afghan Refugees Movement, are protesting and working to get Germany to stop the deportations to what is clearly not a safe country, and one in which the repressive Taliban regime has been rapidly regaining ground in recent months.

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