Germany to discuss lifting ban on deporting Syrians

Among the issues to be addressed will be whether to end or extend the deportation ban for Syrians after it expires at the end of December. (File/AFP)
Updated 17 November 2018
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Germany to discuss lifting ban on deporting Syrians

  • Interior minister expected to discuss issue in meeting at end of November
  • Anti-immigrant parties have been demanding changes in deportation policy

DUBAI: In a sign that Germany's conservative political parties may tighten immigration rules, the government has said it is considering whether to allow the deportation of some Syrian asylum seekers back to their home country.

The interior ministry said on Friday it is examining whether Syrian refugees who commit crimes or support terror organizations should be deported back to Syria, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Such deportations are currently banned.

Germany is currently governed by a coalition of three parties - the conservative CDU/CSU and the SPD.

Horst Seehofer, Germany's interior minister, and his counterparts in Germany's 16 states are set to discuss how to deal with refugees who commit crimes at a meeting at the end of November, the Wall Street Journal report said.

Among the issues to be addressed will be whether to end or extend the deportation ban for Syrians after it expires at the end of December.

"If the security situation permits, it should be possible to deport (to Syria) criminals or people who pose a terror-related risk," Roland Woller, interior minister of Saxony state, told a group of regional dailies on Friday.

Woller's statement came after a similar argument by Joachim Herrmann, his counterpart in Bavaria, in an interview this week, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Merkel, 64, announced late last month she will relinquish chairmanship of the conservative CDU next month, and will not run again for the country's top post in 2021, or any political office.

Merkel, who has led the CDU for 18 years and Germany for 13, said her decision was aimed at giving her party the opportunity "to get ready for the time after me".

Far-right politicians began demanding changes in the deportation policy since Merkel's announcement.

Most Syrians in Germany are treated as war refugees rather than victims of persecution, meaning that they get a renewable one-year visa and are not entitled to bring family members to Germany.

However, Syrians who choose to return home face daunting prospects: large expanses of the country have been reduced to rubble and the economy is a shambles.

Those considering gone home are also discouraged by reports of returnees being targeted by militias loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

Since Germany allowed in 2015 hundreds of thousands of migrants to enter the country, most Syrians who have sought asylum in the country have been granted protection.

While Afghans, Iraqis and other refugees who commit serious crimes or become identified as terror suspects can be deported, Syrians who have not been granted asylum remain exempt, according to the Wall Street Journal report.

According to an explainer in the German news website DW, because non-Germans must have some kind of residency permit to be allowed to stay in Germany, refugees and asylum seekers are issued with temporary permits while their applications are being considered.

If they have had their asylum applications turned down, they no longer have the right to stay in Germany, and are obligated to leave the country by a set deadline (no longer than six months).

If that deadline has passed, they may be forcibly deported to their country of origin, the DW report says.

People whose residency permits have expired, or have not had it extended by authorities, are also subject to deportation. The same is true of non-Germans who have been convicted of a crime.

But there are different rules depending on the severity of the crime. anyone sentenced to at least three years in prison must be deported, but in the case of people who have been sentenced to less severe crimes, or are simply deemed a threat to public order and safety, the decision on whether to deport or not is up to the authority in question.


US reviews report of imports from forced labor in China camp

Updated 19 December 2018
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US reviews report of imports from forced labor in China camp

  • The US is reviewing reports of forced labor at a Chinese detention camp where ethnic minorities must give up their religion and language
  • Following reports, the US said that it had suspended business with the Chinese supplier and was investigating.

BEIJING: The US government said Tuesday that it is reviewing reports of forced labor at a Chinese detention camp where ethnic minorities must give up their religion and language and may be subject to political indoctrination.
US Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that reporting by The Associated Press and other media “for the first time appears to link the internment camps identified in Western China to the importation of goods produced by forced labor by a US company.”
The AP tracked shipments from a factory in a detention camp in China’s Xinjiang region to Badger Sportswear in North Carolina. The company ships clothing to universities, colleges and schools around the United States.
Following the reports, Badger said that it had suspended business with the Chinese supplier and was investigating.
The Washington-based Workers Rights Consortium, which has agreements with many educational institutions to make sure the products they sell on campus are ethically manufactured, said that “forced labor of any kind is a severe violation of university codes of conduct.”
It’s against US law to import products of forced labor. Customs and Border Protection said it is part of its mission to enforce “both laws to protect individuals from forced labor and our Nation’s economy from businesses profiting from this form of modern slavery.”