European Union human rights court defends Afghanistan citizen's right to stay in Austria

Published : August 04, 2021 18:24 IST

Thousands of Aghans could flee the country if/once the Taliban takes more provinces. Photo: Rahmat Gul/AP/picture alliance

Austria said it will allow an Afghan man, who was denied asylum, to stay in the country until the end of the month. NGOs have asked European countries to stop deporting people to Afghanistan.

The European Court of Human Rights on August 3 blocked Austriaꞌs immediate deportation of an Afghan whose application for asylum was turned down, a refugee support group said. The Afghan man, who wanted to remain anonymous, contested the deportation order with the support of Counselling for Deserters and Refugees, a non-governmental organization.

Austrian government officials said they would obey the ECHRꞌs temporary injunction against the deportation, which asked the country to delay his return to Afghanistan until August 31.

What reasons has the court given?

The EUꞌs human rights court in Strasbourg asked the Austrian government how it was going to remove the man from the country when Afghanistan had called for a halt on repatriations until October 8. The ECHR said the planned deportation of the man on Tuesday could be against the European Convention on Human Rights rules on deporting people to war zones as there is a growing conflict in the country between the Afghan army and Taliban militants.

Despite the ban on arrivals in the troubled Middle Eastern country, the court said its ruling only applied to this particular case. Germany, for example, has continued deportations to Afghanistan.

How relevant is the decision?

Asylum-seekers have started leaving Afghanistan after allied forces withdrew, with thousands getting the possibility of becoming US citizens and many others looking for safety outside Afghanistan's borders. In July, 35 refugee and migrant non-governmental organizations including Human Rights Watch, Save the Children and Caritas called for European governments to stop all deportations to Afghanistan.

In a joint statement, they said returning Afghans to their homeland would be "putting their lives at risk" and instead urged the EU to "use all its leverage to prevent renewed wartime atrocities." Aid organizations warn that as many as half a million people could flee the war-torn country after allied forces withdrew.

In order to prevent another refugee crisis similar to that of Syria, which began decade ago, the European Union is planning a raft of financial aid measures for Kabul and its neighboring countries.

jc/sms (Reuters, AFP)

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