2017-12-04 16:04:41 UTC
German pilots refuse to carry out deportations
Pilots across Germany are stopping planned deportations of rejected asylum seekers. At the same time, refugees are appealing their deportation orders in record numbers - and winning.
Many pilots in Germany are refusing to participate in deportations, local media reported on Monday.
Following an information request from the Left party, the government said that 222 planned flights were stopped by pilots who wanted no part in the controversial return of refugees to Afghanistan, which has been deemed a "safe country of origin" in some cases, despite ongoing violence and repression in parts of the country.
Some 85 of the refusals between January and September 2017 came from Germany's main airline Lufthansa and its subsidiary Eurowings. About 40 took place at Dusseldorf airport, where the controversial deportations are routinely accompanied by protesters on the tarmac. The majority of the canceled flights, around 140, took place at Frankfurt Airport, Germany's largest and most important hub.
Germany decides more asylum cases than rest of EU combined
Despite an uptick in deportations, Germany remains the main destination for refugees and migrants to the European Union — so much so that in 2017, Germany processed more asylum applications than all 27 other EU countries combined.
Die Welt daily, quoting the European statistics agency Eurostat, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) decided 388,201 asylum cases in the first six months of 2017.
Read more: Muslim population projected to rise
As Germany stepped up deportations, the number of asylum seekers appealing their decisions has increased significantly. Nearly every second ruling made by the BAMF in the first half of the year was brought before a judge.
This is nearly double the amount of appeals made during the same period in 2016 – as it stands now, the courts side with about one in every four asylum seekers who appeal their status. According to public broadcaster NDR, these suits have cost Berlin about €19 million ($22.5 million( from January to November 2017, an increase of €7.8 million from the previous year.
In order to reduce the number of appeals and speed up deportations, the government has proposed a program to begin in February 2018 that would see rejected asylum seekers given 3,000 euros as an incentive to accept deportation.