German Deportation Order on Afghan Refugees Unconscionable

Washington, D.C. (July 18, 2006) - In a June 28, 2006 memo sent by Senator for Internal Affairs, Mr. Udo Nagel, in Hamburg, Germany, it is noted that Hamburg will immediately begin to offer voluntary return to Afghan refugee families obligated to leave Germany, and if the refugees decline the offer, Hamburg would deport the refugees against their will. The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) demanded the immediate rescission of this order.

"This cold-hearted government order ignores the prevailing conditions in Afghanistan, which seems to be fast returning to a state of lawlessness and violence. The German threat to deport Afghan refugees comes despite the U.S. State Department's advice to German authorities to reconsider the fate of the refugees", said Ramesh Rao, Member, Executive Council, Hindu American Foundation.

Among the many Afghan refugees are Hindu-Afghan refugees who will face even more dire conditions if they return voluntarily to Afghanistan or are deported to Afghanistan. In a recently released report on Hindu human rights, "Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights (2005)", HAF stated that many Hindus currently do not send their children to school in Afghanistan fearing persecution and ridicule. Hindu temples and Hindu crematory grounds have been occupied by Muslims, and the Afghanistan Government under President Hamid Karzai is seeking to re-open the Department for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, a Taliban era office that meted out medieval forms of harsh punishment for acts considered offensive according to Sharia law.

"The U.S. State Department should immediately oppose the proposed German measures and encourage a more humanitarian policy for a people that have suffered too much already," said Ramesh Rao.