Afghan Expulsions Must Follow Rules, EU’s Barrot Says

Afghan expulsions must follow rules, EU's Barrot says

Posted : Thu, 22 Oct 2009 12:46:44 GMT
By : dpa
Category : Europe (World)

Brussels – European Union member states must follow strict rules if they want to forcibly repatriate illegal Afghan immigrants, the EU's justice commissioner said Thursday. Jacques Barrot was speaking a day after France controversially flew three illegal Afghan migrants back to Kabul, arguing that they would not be in danger in the city.

National authorities have to make sure that Afghan migrants either do not want asylum or have had an asylum application rejected, and ensure that their lives will not be in danger if they are sent home, Barrot said in a statement.

“The (European) Commission attaches great importance to the strict respect of these three conditions and will remain vigilant to assure the respect of EU rules,” Barrot said.

France and Britain chartered a joint flight to send illegal immigrants back to Afghanistan overnight to Wednesday.

Immigration Minister Eric Besson said that the Afghans would be flown to Kabul, “where there is no threat to their physical safety.”

But charities working with immigrants said the flights contravened the European Declaration of Human Rights because they exposed the returning Afghans to war and terrorism.

Commission officials said Thursday that the French move appeared to have followed EU rules.

“According to what (Besson) said, the conditions were met for the first three expellees. We will keep an eye on the situation,” Barrot's spokesman, Michele Cercone, told the German Press Agency dpa.

This summer, Barrot, a Frenchman, scolded Italy for sending would- be immigrants intercepted in international waters back to Libya without finding out if they might qualify for asylum.