Minister: Germany should explain fate of Iraqis from Czech Republic

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Prague, April 4 (CTK) – Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) will want his German counterpart to explain to him why the 25 Christian refugees from Iraq who left the Czech Republic were allowed to stay in Germany, Chovanec told Czech Television (CT) on Monday.

With its steps, Germany has confirmed the arguments that the EU mandatory redistribution quotas for migrants are absurd, Chovanec said.

The German approach can be now used by other refugees who have asked for asylum in other European countries, he added.

On Thursday, the government will discuss the resettlement of Christian refugees to the Czech Republic.

Chovanec said the refugees had left the Czech Republic in contradiction with law.

The Christian refugees from Iraq arrived in the Czech Republic within a resettlement programme and they were originally accommodated in Okrouhlik near Jihlava, south Moravia. However, they rejected asylum in the Czech Republic and left for Essen, Germany, by coach on Saturday.

Under the original agreement with the German police, the Iraqis were to be returned to the Czech Republic this morning, but then the German authorities withdrew their application for the transfer of foreigners to the Czech Republic, arguing that all of them asked for asylum in Germany.

“We do not understand this German step. At present, we are preparing some agreement,” Chovanec said.

He said he would ask his German partners to provide a detailed explanation of why they eventually had not returned the foreigners to the Czech Republic.

“Not the refugees’ return, but a clarification of the legal situation may be the solution,” Chovanec said.

Chovanec said he fear the current German attitude undermined the struggle against subsequent movements within the Schengen area and may set a precedent for all other migrants who have asked for asylum in other European countries.

“I wonder whether the case of the 25 people will be used by many other migrants in their court disputes with Germany in the future,” Chovanec said.

The case has shown that the quota system cannot work, he added.

The German authorities are very likely to return the group of Iraqi refugees to the Czech Republic, Martin Rozumek, head of the Organization for Aid to Refugees (OPU), told CTK.

The German institutions will certainly judge well the situation of the Iraqi refugees in Okrouhlik, Rozumek said.

“In Germany, the decision-making is not so political, while here, it is pure politics,” he added.

In all, 89 Christians from Iraq have been moved within the programme of the Generation 21 from Iraq to the Czech Republic. A total of 153 were to arrive in the country.

After the 25-member group left the refugee centre in the Czech Republic, Chovanec discontinued the resettlement programme.
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