Lille, France: France on Wednesday banned protests in the refugee hotspot of Calais ahead of a planned march by anti-Islamic organisation Pegida. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said he had asked local authorities in the northern French port to prevent all demonstrations "regardless of the organisers".
He said the ban particularly covered "all these groups that create tensions, division and violence" and would last as long as necessary. At least 4,000 migrants and refugees are living in a camp on the outskirts of Calais, nicknamed the "Jungle", hoping to smuggle themselves across to Britain on lorries or trains.
Anti-Islamic group Pegida, which began as a movement in Germany in mid-2014 and has since spread to France and other European countries, was planning to march in the town centre on Saturday. The local prefect had requested a ban on the march, saying it was organised by "an extremist group" and threatened to trigger clashes between far-right and far-left movements.
The Refugees Welcome Index ranks 27 countries across all continents based on people’s willingness to let refugees live in their countries, towns, neighbourhoods and homes.
The Refugees Welcome Index is based on a global survey of more than 27,000 people carried out by the internationally renowned strategy consultancy GlobeScan. The survey asked people: how closely would you personally accept people fleeing war or persecution?
French police will begin dismantling the migrant camp in the northeastern city of Calais Monday in an operation that will force them to disperse as many as 8,000 people across the country.
President Francois Hollande has promised to close the camp, known as “The Jungle,” by the end of the year to remove a slum that local residents blame for causing unrest and that is hampering traffic through the Channel Tunnel, as migrants try to move to Britain.
Under the interior ministry plan, the residents of the camp will be shifted to cities across France over the next seven to 10 days. Cities Minister Patrick Kanner called for generosity on the part of local governments and residents elsewhere to share the burden of welcoming people in need.
“Calais needs to be able to breath,” Kanner said Sunday on Europe 1 radio. “I really want us to have a humanist approach, one of universal fraternity,” he said.
4,088 people were deported from Germany to their countries of origin or other European states in the first quarter of this year, around 27% fewer than the same period last year. The Left party says deportations should be called off completetely in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to figures released by the German government in response to an inquiry by the Left party (Die Linke), 4,088 people were deported from Germany between January and March of this year. Most were returned to Italy, France, Serbia, Albania and Georgia, reports the Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper citing the government document.
During the same period last year, the figure stood at 5,613, meaning the figure dropped by 1,525, or around 27%.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, most chartered deportation flights scheduled for March were cancelled. Countries of origin denied entry or suspended air traffic altogether, the news agency KNA reports.
Deportations on regular flights too were reduced significantly. However, states and the federal government still attempted to conduct deportations where possible, the Osnabrücker Zeitung reports.
General ban on deportations
The interior ministry so far rejected implementing a general stop of deportations in light of the coronavirus pandemic, a decision that Left Party parliamentarian Ulla Jelpke criticizes.
"In many countries of origin and transit countries, refugees not only face persecution, war and a lack of perspective, there are also no functioning health systems in place," she told the Osnabrücker Zeitung.
Jelpke warns that deportations from Germany will increase again as travel restrictions are eased and more countries are reopening their borders. The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, said Jelpke. She called for a general and nationwide ban on deportations.
Dublin transfers suspended
At the beginning of April, the German government, in response to a request by Afghan authorities, announced it would indefinitely stop deportations of failed asylum seekers to Afghanistan.
Germany officially suspended all Dublin returns to Italy in late February due to the COVID-19 crisis. At the end of March, the German government said that Dublin transfers (to other EU member states, plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) would not take place "until further notice" but that deportations to third countries could still take place.
The German Office for Migration and Refugees BAMF has pointed out that the suspension does not imply that the Dublin states are no longer obliged to take responsibility for examining asylum claims, only that it was temporarily impossible to carry out transfers.
The COVID-19 outbreak in Germany resulted in a great reduction in numbers of people being deported from Germany. At the height of the public health crisis in April, there were only 28 deportations.
By July 2020, the situation had stabilized and the number of deportations rose back to 787 - but still a far short of the numbers recorded in February 2020, which were well over 1,500.
Meanwhile the numbers of attempted but not fully executed deportations remained roughly the same when compared to the previous year: between September 2019 and February 2020, there had been a total of 13,759 deportation procedures initiated which hadn't come to fruition. The figure representing the same period the previous year was only marginally higher with 13,835 such cases.
The reasons for failed deportation attempts can be varied, but they include ongoing appeal processes, a lack of cooperation with authorities in the countries of origin of the migrants affected and also failed asylum seekers going into hiding.
Between September 2019 and February 2020, the total number of deportees from Germany stood at 10,276 failed asylum seekers — nearly 1,000 cases short compared to the same period a year earlier, before the controversial law had even been enacted. However, the Ministry of the Interior said that it was too early to draw conclusions from that data set.
The "Orderly Return Law" — which officially is called the "Second Law for the Improved Execution of Deportations" (Zweites Gesetz zur besseren Durchsetzung der Ausreisepflicht) was introduced on August 21, 2019.
It was designed to give more power to authorities to apply sanctions against those who do not comply with the lengthy deportation procedures in Germany. Under the new law, people who are a flight-risk can now be detained prior to their deportation.
Furthermore, the law allows authorities to start proceedings against migrants and refugees who lie on their asylum applications.