Although the European Union has signed an agreement with Kabul in order to send Afghan refugees fleeing to Europe back to “safe areas” of Afghanistan, German pilots are taking action against the deportations.
As per Deutsche Well, German pilots have stopped 222 flights meant to deport refugees to Afghanistan over the course of 2017. This is heavily due to the fact that thousand of Afghans are in danger of kidnapping, torture, or death in their home country, according to Amnesty International.
85 of the stopped flights came from Germany’s chief airline, Lufthansa, and its subsidiary, Eurowings. In addition, approximately 140 of the refusals to fly occurred at Frankfurt Airport, the largest airport in Germany. About 40 of the refusals took place at Dusseldorf Airport, where human rights groups such as Pro Asyl staged the #WelcomeUnited movement in order to protest the deportation of refugees.
— #WelcomeUnited (@WeWillComeUnite) March 18, 2017
— #WelcomeUnited (@WeWillComeUnite) September 16, 2017
Michael Lamberty, a spokesman for Lufthansa, told Westdeutsche Allegeimeine Zeitung that part of the reason that German pilots cancelled their flights was due to security concerns. He said,
The decision not to carry a passenger is ultimately made by the pilot on a case by case basis. If he or she had the impression that flight safety could be affected, he must refuse to transport the passenger. Should security personnel at the airports have some sort of information in advance which indicates that a situation could escalate during a deportation, they can decide ahead of time not to let the passengers board.
Germany has brought in 388,201 refugees since the beginning of 2017, more than all other European Union nations combined. Around 210,000 of these people have been requested to return to their native country, but most are able to stay after an appeal case. From January until November, these lawsuits have cost Germany about €19 million ($22.5 million).