German handling of violence in Iran: talk, but don’t deport

The Human Rights Commissioner Amtsberg stands for further diplomatic relations with Iran. Interior Minister Faeser calls for a deportation stop.

Protest in Berlin with a poster showing Mahsa Amini

After the murder of Mahsa Amini, protest in Berlin against the regime in Iran Photo: Markus Schreiber/ap

BERLIN taz | The regime in Iran is using increasing violence against the protests of the civilian population after the death of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini. Now the federal government’s Human Rights Commissioner, Luise Amtsberg, has spoken out against ending diplomatic relations with the country. It has “so far never resulted in human rights being protected or observed when you have withdrawn,” said the Green politician on Friday on Deutschlandfunk.

Rather, the already poor information situation is becoming even thinner. The German embassy in Kabul is also a “contact person and place of refuge” for Afghan refugees in Iran, for example – that will be lost if the ambassador is withdrawn. “But I still think it’s right to continue discussing the possibilities of pressure,” said Amtsberg.

Amtsberg defended the course of the federal government towards the regime in Iran. Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is a “driving force behind efforts to introduce further sanctions” and she is confident that these could be decided at EU level in the coming week, said Amtsberg.

Meanwhile, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) has spoken out in favor of stopping deportations to Iran. “Deportations to Iran are irresponsible in the current disastrous human rights situation,” said Faeser dem mirror. “A ban on deportations is the right step, which the federal states should decide on as soon as possible.”

Lower Saxony goes ahead

In Iran, young women in particular “rebelled against the violent and oppressive regime with incredible courage”. They risked their lives fighting for freedom. “We have to do everything that we can do in this country to protect courageous Iranian civil society,” Faeser continued.

However, the decision to stop deportations does not lie with the federal government, but with the federal states. Shortly before Faeser’s statements, Lower Saxony was the first state to announce that it would suspend deportations to Iran. The state also wants to campaign for a general ban on deportations at the next conference of interior ministers.

The human rights organization Pro Asyl and the state refugee councils are calling for one Deportation stopped since the end of September. Lower Saxony is setting a good example, the organizations now explained and called on the other federal states to do the same.

Not just words

“The regime in Iran continues to show how inhuman and brutal it is. Protesters are shot at, they are abducted and imprisoned, tortured and killed,” said Nazanin Ghafouri from the Bremen Refugee Council. “It is not enough for all politicians to show solidarity with the courageous people in Iran and East Kurdistan. You must also specifically ensure that nobody is handed over to this regime through deportation.”

Green MEP Erik Marquardt welcomed Faesers to the federal states on Facebook directed demand for a deportation stop – but also pointed out that “prospectively” the coalition agreement must be implemented. In it, the SPD, the Greens and the FDP stated: “We are striving for the competent supreme federal authority to be able to issue a temporary national ban on deportations for individual countries of origin.”

People have been demonstrating against the government all over Iran since mid-September. The trigger was the death of the Kurd Jina Mahsa Amini. She was arrested by the so-called vice police and allegedly abused because her headscarf allegedly did not fit properly. The 22-year-old fell into a coma and died in hospital. The security authorities are using great violence against the protests. The human rights organization Amnesty International reports from so far more than 130 dead whose names could be determined.

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