On Monday, 27 July 2020, the group “No Border Assembly Berlin” together with other organisations will launch the campaign Lufthansa #Abschiebfrei. It is directed against deportation profiteering by the German company Lufthansa AG. In 2019, more than 25% (5,885 of 22,097) of deportations from Germany were carried out by Lufthansa. In 2018, the number of deported persons was 6,025 . The alliance calls on Lufthansa to take a clear position against racism and to stop transporting people against their will. More than 20 organizations have already joined the campaign nationwide.
For many years, the airline has profited from state payment for the forced transportation of people without German citizenship. In previous campaigns, the company has already been publicly called out for this, but without stopping the forced transportations.
Two documented deaths have already occurred during deportations by Lufthansa: In 1999, the Sudanese Aamir Ageeb suffocated while being deported in a Lufthansa aircraft when the police tied him up. Kola Bankole from Nigeria died in a similar manner during a Lufthansa deportation in 1993 . The use of violence during deportations has massively increased in recent years, according to a small inquiry directed at the federal government – in 2019, 1,764 persons were officially subject to methods of physical violence. The number of unreported cases of racist police violence during deportations is likely to be significantly higher.
“The racist police violence on deportation flights is symptomatic of the neo-colonial character of deportations. In order to limit access to European wealth to white descendants of colonial powers, freedom of travel is made a privilege and deportations are carried out by force. It is high time that deportations are recognised for what they are: acts of racist violence”, explains Nadija Martin, spokeswoman of the campaign.
Airlines have the right to refuse the sale of seats when it puts passengers at risk. Virgin Atlantic has already stopped selling tickets for deportations from Britain and Australia since 2018. In 2019, six US airlines, including United, Delta and American Airlines, informed that they would not carry children who were separated from their families at the US border. Lufthansa can and must follow their example!
Lufthansa pilots refused to carry deportees in 2019 in 309 cases. The German pilots’ union Cockpit stands behind them and advised pilots years ago to refuse anybody in the aircraft who is there involuntarily. Also the international pilots’ union IFALPA only allows voluntary travel. The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has called on all commercial airlines to refuse assistance in cases of forced deportation.
As part of its new start after the Corona break, Lufthansa has a choice: “If Lufthansa is serious about assuming global social responsibility and treating its employees responsibly, it must stop selling tickets for deportations,” said Martin.
Lufthansa says SayYesToTheWorld – We demand: #SayNoToDeportations!
Other signatory organisations:
– Abschiebehaft Abschaffen Berlin-Brandenburg
– Afrique-Europe Interact
– Aktion Bleiberecht
– Anti-Deportation Café
– Arbeitskreis Kritische Soziale Arbeit Hannover
– Bayerischer Flüchtlingsrat
– Bürger*innenasyl Barnim
– Bürger*innenasyl Berlin
– Death in Custody – Aufklärung der Todesumstände in Gewahrsam Jetzt
– Exil – Osnabrücker Zentrum für Flüchtlinge e.V.
– Flüchtlingsrat Brandenburg
– Flüchtlingsrat Sachsen-Anhalt e.V.
– Flüchtlingsrat Hamburg e.V.
– Hannover Solidarisch
– Karawane München
– Kontakt- und Beratungsstelle für Flüchtlinge und Migrant_innen e.V.
– Medibüro Berlin | Netzwerk für das Recht auf Gesundheitsversorgung aller Migrant*innen
– PRO BLEIBERECHT Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
– Refugee Assembly Brandenburg
– We’ll Come United Berlin – Brandenburg
– Hamid Nowzari, Verein iranischer Flüchtlinge in Berlin e.V.
– Vernetzung gegen Abschiebung Hessen und Mainz
 4.573 Lufhansa flights and 1.312 flights from their subsidiary Eurowings
 5.045 Lufthansa flights und 980 flights from their subsidiary Eurowings
 http://dipbt.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/19/182/1918201.pdf (Lufthansa and subsidiaries Eurowings, Air Dolomiti, Austrian Airlines and Swiss International)
Background information on police violence during deportations:
2018/2019, Europäisches Komitee zur Verhütung von Folter: Misshandlung von Abzuschiebenden, wie Schmerzgriffe in die Genitalien, unrechtmäßigen Abschiebungen: https://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/-/council-of-europe-anti-torture-committee-says-germany-needs-to-ensure-better-treatment-of-foreign-nationals-being-removed-by-air
2018, Flüchtlingsrat, Familientrennung, Schläge, Zwangsmedikation: https://fluechtlingsrat-berlin.de/presseerklaerung/horror-sammelabschiebung-unter-federfuehrung-berlins/
2019/2020, Abschiebungemonitoring Hamburg, Zwangsmedikation, Drohungen gegenüber Kindern, Zwangsmedikation: https://www.diakonie-hamburg.de/export/sites/default/.content/downloads/Fachbereiche/ME/Jahresbericht-Abschiebungsbeobachtung-2019-2020.pdf