Germany blocks deportation of Syrian refugees to Greece over human rights fears

Court rules the two sisters were at risk of homelessness

 Syrian refugees arrive on Lesbos. UNHCR
 Syrian refugees arrive on Lesbos. UNHCR

Two Syrian refugees cannot be deported back to Greece because of the serious risk that their human rights could be violated and basic needs not met, a German court ruled.

Germany’s Federal Migration Ministry had rejected the asylum applications of the Syrian sisters and threatened them with deportation because they already had refugee status in Greece.

An appeal against the decision failed on the grounds that the sisters would be able to find accommodation and a supply of essential everyday items with the help of aid organisations or “informal networks”.

But this decision was overturned by a court in Lower Saxony on Monday, which said the two refugees “were very likely to become homeless after being returned to Greece”.

The court found they would not be able to access basic benefits in Greece, nor be able to obtain sufficient support from the government or other means.

The sisters would, in “a very short” period of time, be facing impoverishment and conditions that might violate their human rights.

“Current evidence suggests that refugees who have been returned are not provided with any accommodation by the state, they do not receive any housing-related social benefits and they have no significant chance of finding accommodation from non-state agencies,” the German court said.

Last month, German authorities announced a freeze on the cases of migrants applying for asylum in Germany if they already had refugee status in Greece. More than 2,100 refugees who had protection status in Greece applied for asylum in Germany in January and February alone, and 7,100 did so in 2020.

Published: April 21, 2021 12:25 PM

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