EU signs deal to deport unlimited numbers of Afghan asylum seekers - The Guardian
The EU has signed an agreement with the Afghan government allowing its member states to deport an unlimited number of the country’s asylum seekers, and obliging the Afghan government to receive them.
The deal has been in the pipeline for months, leading up to a large EU-hosteddonor conference in Brussels this week. According to a previously leaked memo, the EU suggested stripping Afghanistan of aid if its government did not cooperate.
The deal, signed on Sunday, has not been made public but a copy seen by the Guardian states that Afghanistan commits to readmitting any Afghan citizen who has not been granted asylum in Europe, and who refuses to return to Afghanistanvoluntarily.
It is the latest EU measure to alleviate the weight of the many asylum seekers who have arrived since early 2015. Afghans constituted the second-largest group of asylum seekers in Europe, with196,170 applying last year.
While the text stipulates a maximum of 50 non-voluntary deportees per chartered flight in the first six months after the agreement, there is no limit to the number of daily deportation flights European governments can charter to Kabul.
With tens of thousands set to be deported, both sides will also consider building a terminal dedicated to deportation flights at Kabul international airport.
The agreement, Joint Way Forward, also opens up the deportation of women and children, which at the moment almost exclusively happens from Norway: “Special measures will ensure that such vulnerable groups receive adequate protection, assistance and care throughout the whole process.”
If family members in Afghanistan cannot be located, unaccompanied children can be returned only with “adequate reception and care-taking arrangement having been put in place in Afghanistan”, the text says.
Still, Afghanistan, whose domestic revenue only constitutes 10.4% of GDP, is so dependent on foreign aid that the government may have had little choice. - Read More
EU signs deal to deport unlimited numbers of Afghan asylum seekers