28 May 2009 – According to information received from the lawyer Axel Selbert (see press release), police officers arrested the 26 year-old Elvis A. on Monday, 26 May 2009, around midnight, at his home in Fuldatal, where he lived, together with his life-time companion and their two small children, one and a half year and three weeks old, to deport him back to Kosovo, where he has no other family members. According to the same source, Elvis A. arrived in Germany, in September 1999, together with his parents and other siblings, in the aftermath of the Kosovo conflict.
Instead of receiving asylum, Elvis A. was merely granted a “tolerated status” (“Duldung”), which offers but a limited protection against deportation. Moreover, under this status, Elvis A. was not allowed to receive professional training or take up a regular job. Arriving in Germany 82 days too late, he missed the deadline for having his case to be considered by the so-called “Härtefallkommission”, which deals with cases of exceptional hardship among asylum seekers.
One month ago, Elvis A. received a letter, asking him to leave Germany on a “voluntary basis”. Referring to his family situation and social integration, his lawyer requested a residence permit. There was no response to this, until his deportation to Kosovo. According to his lawyer, there was no time to introduce legal remedies.
The German federal government has recently concluded a readmission agreement with the Kosovo authorities which allows for the forced repatriation of people originating from Kosovo, regardless their ethnic background. This agreement stands in contrast and de facto violates the UNHCR position on the continued international protection needs of individuals from Kosovo, according to which Kosovo Roma and Serbs continue to be at risk of persecution and should be granted asylum or subsidiary protection.
The deportation of Elvis A. coincides with the publication by Minority Rights Group International of a report highlighting the continued discrimination of ethnic minorities leading to their departure from Kosovo. The same day, the Council of Europe Commission against Racism and Intolerance, ECRI, issued its fourth country report on Germany in which it expressed its criticism regarding Germany’s restrictive policies towards asylum seekers.
In this report, ECRI devotes an entire section to the situation of people who have been admitted in Germany on the basis of the “tolerated status”. While praising Germany’s efforts to provide a provisional residence status to persons who have been staying in Germany for many years, which is referred to as “Bleiberechtsregelung”, provided their fulfilment of certain conditions, ECRI encouraged the German authorities “to work towards a solution which is humane and respectful of human rights for all persons, including those who will not benefit from the present provisions, who have been living in Germany with tolerated status for a long time and have developed close ties with Germany.” Elvis A. would certainly have fallen under this category.