Corona response: Dublin deportations suspended
Deportation from Saxony to Afghanistan. Archive image from summer 2019 Photo: Michel Kappeler / dpa

The Federal Ministry of the Interior has stopped all deportations to other EU countries due to the corona crisis. The so-called “Dublin transfer” will be suspended for the time being.

According to the Dublin Regulation, an application for asylum is checked to see which country is responsible for carrying out the asylum procedure. If there are any indications that another Member State is responsible, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bamf), responsible for asylum procedures, initiates a so-called Dublin procedure, which can lead to deportation to the responsible EU country.

In practice, the Bamf had suspended all Dublin transfers since last week, as was known from ongoing Dublin proceedings.

The reason: Due to the currently closed borders and current travel bans, such deportations are “not responsible”, the Federal Office said in a letter of 18 March to the administrative courts. However, the temporary suspension of the transfer procedures does not mean that the Dublin states are no longer willing and obliged to take over, it continues. Rather, enforcement is only temporarily not possible.

Criticism of pro asylum

The Bamf will immediately inform the other member states of this decision, the authority announced on Monday. According to the Federal Office, the temporary suspension of deportations does not lead to the expiry of the respective Dublin transfer period. This six-month period, after which the responsibility for the asylum procedure would pass to Germany, would be interrupted, so it did not continue.

The Federal Ministry of the Interior plans to get in touch with the EU Commission and ask it to coordinate a uniform European approach so that rescheduled transfers can be made up for later, a BMI spokeswoman for TEH said on Tuesday.

The human rights organization Pro Asyl criticized the suspension of the transfer deadlines. “The transfer deadlines must continue, otherwise the affected are in a grueling state of limbo and do not know how to proceed with them any longer than usual,” said Wiebke Judith, legal policy advisor at Pro Asyl, TEH. The refugee organization, therefore, demands that Germany should use its right of self-entry and carry out the asylum procedures in Germany.

It is currently unclear whether the suspension of deportations should also apply to non-EU countries in the future. According to Pro Asyl, collective deportation to Kabul planned for the second week of April has already been canceled. Last week, however, many well-integrated refugees were brought back to Afghanistan from Saxony.

In other European countries, returns to Afghanistan are being stopped. The Swedish police said that the Afghan authorities would no longer accept returnees from Sweden.

“What applies to Dublin renditions must apply even more to deportations to third countries,” said Filiz Polat, migration policy spokeswoman for the Greens parliamentary group. The medical care situation and the partly unclear epidemiological situation in many third countries would endanger the successful containment of the coronavirus, Polat told TEH. “In particular, collective deportations are unreasonable and would have to be stopped immediately,” said the Green MP.

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