Monday, 9 January 2017


Though the public was quick to blame politicians and the authorities beholden to them for systemic failures in the migration and asylum process, and it’s no comfort to the affected families—and those legitimate claimants who’ll potentially face being rebuffed—one tragic irony behind the angry lunatic who hijacked a lorry and killed the driver and mowed down twelve individuals at a Berlin Christmas Market is that his country of origin refused to take him back. Non-refoulement is the principle of international law that restricts the rendition of one adjudged a true victim of persecution to his or her place of persecution—although north Africa lands like Morocco, Libya and Tunisia had been declared “safe countries” for some time and refugees originating from that region almost without exception have their asylum-applications rejected.
In this instance (and there are untold numbers of individuals suspended in this legal limbo) Tunisia denied that the perpetrator was a citizens and therefore was under no obligation to take him back. Earlier investigation revealed the quite opposite to be the case, and the dossier that the government in Tunis had on this dangerous and unstable criminal was all the more reason not to accept his expulsion. The flood of refugees and those opportunists that are carried in the wake of humanity fleeing war either don’t have travel-documents or identification because either issuing authorities no longer exist or were encouraged by smugglers or fellow-travellers to destroy them, the logic being it would confound the receiving authorities and reduce the chances of being rejected outright since absent papers, one could claim the sympathies of the day and any nationality one wished. Whatever story offered would hold up to scrutiny at least long enough to get one’s foot in the door, so to speak. The revelation that Tunisia’s belated approval to take back the perpetrator—coming just two days too late—may have been the final bit of news to push him over the edge. Elements of the German government are demanding that foreign aid be withheld from any nation that acts in a similarly recalcitrant manner.