Berlin (dpa) – Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) says the blanket ban on deportation to Syria should not be extended beyond December 31.
“At the Conference of the Ministers of the Interior, I will argue that, in the future, instead of a general ban on deportation, at least for criminals and people at risk, we will in each case individually check whether deportations to Syria are possible, “said Seehofer of the German news agency.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wants to present a new situation report on the security situation in Syria in time for the deliberations of the ministers of the interior, a spokeswoman announced on Friday.
The fact that Seehofer did not even wait for the federal State Department’s current assessment of the situation shows that he is “not concerned about the fatal human rights situation on the ground, but with a political signal to the right,” said the director of Pro Asyl, Günter Burkhard. The domestic political spokeswoman for the left-wing parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Ulla Jelpke, speculated that the debate on the deportation of so-called threats “served as a door opener to deport other groups to Syria in the long run”. On the other hand, the chairman of the Union in the Interior Committee, Alexander Throm (CDU), demanded that the ban on deportation of “endangered persons” be lifted regardless of the security situation in Syria, “because only then is it possible in principle to prevent this person to take custody “.
The blanket ban on deportation for Syria was first decided in 2012 and has been extended several times since then. The civil war is over in most parts of the country. Several international actors have intervened in this war over the years – most recently Russia and Turkey. Human rights organizations say those seen as opponents of the Assad family, who have ruled the Arab country for 50 years, are still at risk of torture and death.
In the few areas still controlled by Islamists or other rebels, there are also risks for supporters of President Bashar al-Assad. A situation report by the German Foreign Office in May stated: “Even in parts of the country where fighting has now subsided, there is still a high risk of violence and attacks. This also applies to supposedly more peaceful parts of the country in the far west of Syria and the capital Damascus. “
Following the knife attack by an Islamist in Dresden, several Union politicians have questioned the categorical ban on deportation to Syria. The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs sees no room here for the time being. On October 4, two men were victims of a knife attack in Dresden. A 55-year-old from Krefeld died, a 53-year-old man from Cologne survived seriously injured. A 20-year-old suspect with a previous conviction was arrested and is said to be from Syria.
Lower Saxony’s Minister of the Interior Boris Pistorius rejected Seehofer’s initiative. The federal interior minister ignored reality and tried to make a clear political effort, the SPD politician said of the “world” on Friday. The Federal Republic currently has no diplomatic relations and no German representation in Syria that could initiate repatriation. Lower Saxony would also “immediately deport perpetrators or threats to Syria – but this is currently impossible”.
The situation in Syria is “still very complex,” a foreign affairs spokeswoman said after the arrest in October. Returnees faced dangers from various directions, “including from the regime itself”. Deportations are also likely to be difficult in practice, as Germany does not have diplomatic relations with Syria.
Seehofer is about to send a message to “threats” and criminals that they have forfeited their right to stay in Germany, a spokeswoman for the federal interior ministry said. According to the Interior Ministry, 5,719 Syrians were forced to leave Germany at the end of October. About 90 Islamists, identified as “dangerous” by the state authorities, therefore hold only Syrian citizenship.
According to reports, the suggestion recently came from Saxony that the Federal Ministry of the Interior could write its own report on the situation in Syria for the conference of the Ministers of the Interior, which begins December 9. However, the question arises on what knowledge this could be based. The Ministry of the Interior in Syria does not currently have its own information sources. Seehofer has so far shown no inclination to have such a report carried out in his home. He says, “The entire federal government must ensure that criminals and threats leave our country.” The police call people “threats” if they have confidence in a politically motivated crime of significant importance – such as a terrorist attack.
The European Court of Justice ruled last week that conscientious objectors from Syria have a good chance of being recognized as refugees in the EU. In many cases, the refusal was an expression of political or religious belief or based on membership of a particular social group, the judges found. The background to this was the case of a Syrian who claimed to have fled to Germany in order not to enlist. However, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees only granted him subsidiary protection – not refugee status. For example, for those who are entitled to subsidiary protection, the possibility of family reunification is limited.
At the conference of the Interior Ministers in May, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Saxony stated that they were in favor of “a differentiated vision” of people who had identified themselves as supporters of President Assad or who had meanwhile returned to Syria regarding the ban on deportation.