The German Interior Ministry confirmed its participation in what seems to be an Austrian-German charter deportation operation to Nigeria last Thursday. The deportation flight departed from Vienna with 22 persons, including a lady, with a transit in Dusseldorf where two further deportees joined onboard for a final departure to the Lagos cargo airport in Nigeria. Also onboard were more than 100 muscular escorts for effective execution of the deportation operation.
It is unfortunate that the German government decides to embark on such a deportation operation especially at a time when Europe is facing serious challenges with increasing COVID-19 infections. With Germany identified as a high-risk region and witnessing another partial lockdown that is affecting social and economic activities in the country, such a deportation may contribute to spreading the coronavirus in Nigeria.
Affected by deepened economic hardship due to the lockdown period to curb the pandemic, Nigeria has in the recent months witnessed rowdy electoral campaigns and violent protests. These have promoted more vulnerability to the coronavirus. Another lockdown for a country with more than 200 million inhabitants will have severe social-economic consequences for the continent.
Germany has once again with this recent deportation exposed its arrogant disrespect for asylum seekers’ right to protect themselves from the COVID-19 infection. It also shows the deceptiveness of Germany’s solidarity with the global call to contain further spread of the coronavirus with a special regard to countries with an inadequate medical system.
After no less than five failed charter deportations with last minute cancellation based on the Corona lock down, the recent deportation confirms the resumption of deportation flight landing in Nigeria. Rejected asylum seekers and persons otherwise with a precarious legal status in Germany should take note of this situation as Germany will no doubt begin with its massive deportation enforcement to Nigeria.
Investigation on whether the deportation from Germany has breached the current COVID-19 guidelines regarding the entry of persons into Nigeria is ongoing. Deported persons from Austria confirmed to have undertaken a COVID-19 test before some few days before the departure.
At the heat of the terrible Corona Pandemic, asylum seekers in Germany were not spared from continued massive criminalization like prejudiced rejection of asylum application, rejection of court appeals even without personal appearance, cutting of social benefit, limited medical attention and many other discrimination practices. The most traumatizing was the continued pressure for identity documents even at a time the Embassies and Borders were closed down to official activities based on the Corona pandemic. Such trauma had actually forced many asylum seekers to abandon their accommodation centers and end up undocumented based on fear. These are the bulk of persons who are usually termed as criminal foreigners in the course of legitimating the German racist culture of deportation.
We are by this report calling on solidarity persons and groups and refugee country Government to debunk Germany`s false propanganda of presenting deportees as persons who have committed severe criminal offences but rather, these deported persons are only criminalized for resisting to collaborate in facilitating their own deportation.
Foto: DERS-R4R Volunteers/Lagos on 12.11.2020 https://refugees4refugees.wordpress.com/2020/02/01/deportees-emergency-reception-and-support-ders/