:bsz international. Flüchtlingsrat NRW e.V. started an online petition objecting deportations from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) to Afghanistan. Along with the daily increase of signatures even prominent support has been attracted.
The petition called “Keine Abschiebungen aus NRW nach Afghanistan” has been online since March 16. According to its website Flüchtlingsrat NRW e.V. claims to be an „open and independent network“. Lately, the North Rhine-Westphalian refugee council aroused attention due to its involvement in the nationwide day of action on February 11. Almost 2,000 people demonstrated because of refugee policy and demanded the stopping of deportations. In addition to many demonstrations, rallies, press releases and further commitments, the petition is an endeavour to actuate the state government. “Therewith we wanted to set an example and get our point across”, Julia Scheurer, advisor for public relations, told us.
New signatures every day
The online petition has not only been signed by welfare organisations, socio-cultural centres, human rights and developmental work organisations but also famous supporters: the cabaret artist Volker Pispers and the punk band Die Toten Hosen could be acquired as initial signers. Within a week, approximately 3,000 adherents could be found to support the petition. As the first successes have become apparent and the increment is temporarily huge, the initiators seem to be optimistic: “We feel confident that we will achieve the aim of 10,000 supporters and more.” During the fixed period of three months the petition is going to be sent to the offices of the home affairs select committee and the integration committee. These repeated consignments will be sent periodically to uphold the pressure on the state government.
The future comes with elections
Considering the final undertaking, Julia Scheurer of the state refugee council is “confident but not exuberantly euphoric”. Although North Rhine-Westphalian Interior Minister Ralf Jäger (SPD) refused to impose a total ban on deportations thus far, pressure is rising with the upcoming state election and the following parliamentary elections for the Bundestag. Despite deceptive descriptions by Federal Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maizière, Afghanistan is not considered to be a “safe country of origin”. However, according to the Federal Government there are to be safe parts to which asylum seekers could be deported unhesitatingly. Under threat of a state-wide stopping of deportations, the Green Party from Baden-Wuerttemberg demanded a revaluation of the security situation. Albeit NRW did not participate in the last collective deportation on January 23, deportation opponents remain sceptical. Those people associated with refugee work must abide by their aim. They still have the instrument of rigidity to enforce humanitarian interests as opposed to economics-based calculation. There are still 85 days left to sign and support the petition on Flüchtlingsrat NRW’s homepage. “We will keep up”, Julia Scheurer promises.