State Officials Lift Ban on Deportations to War-Plagued Countries
Oct. 03, 1986
SAULGAU, West Germany (AP) _ Interior ministers from the nation's 11 states agreed Friday that refugees would no longer be exempt from deportation solely because of war in their homelands.
Decisions to send refugees back to war-torn countries will be made on a case-by-case basis, the state officials agreed at a meeting in Saulgau, in Baden-Wuerttemberg state.
In West Germany, which this year is faced with an influx of some 75,000 asylum-seekers, federal authorities decide whether an applicant receives political asylum but state authorities are responsible for deportations.
''We will look at every individual case before deciding if rejected asylum applicants can be deported to a country like Lebanon,'' said Horst Winterstein, Hesse state interior minister.
The decision apparently was influenced by a fact-finding trip to Lebanon last month by West Berlin officials who said in a report that it was ''possible to lead a normal life again there.''
The recent wave of refugees to West Germany has included many Lebanese as well as thousands of Iranians, some of whom are trying to avoid being drafted into service in the war against Iraq.
In the past, state authorities have allowed unsuccessful asylum-seekers to stay in West Germany if there were wars going on in their home countries.
But the flood of asylum-seekers from mainly Asian, Middle Eastern and African nations has strained welfare services, triggered racial incidents and increased pressure for a crackdown.
Bavarian Interior Minister Karl Hillermeier told reporters Friday that the ministers had voted unanimously for the change on deportation policy. But he indicated further talks were needed to agree on the countries to be affected.
Hillermeier and Winterstein spoke to journalists after two days of talks among the interior ministers.
In a related development, a Hesse state court on Friday ruled that Polish tourists cannot claim political asylum after deciding to overstay tourist visas in West Germany.
The court ruled in the case of two asylum-seekers who had come to West Germany on tourist visas.
Escape attempts or illegal residence abroad are no longer listed as criminal offenses in Poland, the court said in explaining its ruling. But it said the two Poles would not be deported.
Every year, thousands of Poles come to West Germany with legal tourist visas and then decide not to return home.