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LONDON: Germany has moved hundreds of Afghans from temporary government housing to take in Ukrainian refugees, The Independent reported on Wednesday.

Over the past decade, around 630,000 Afghans have applied for asylum in the EU, with Germany accepting one of the highest numbers of refugees in Europe.

The German government said the deportations in Berlin were taking place because Afghan families had used short-term arrival centers.

But Tareq Alaows, a board member of the Berlin Refugee Council, said some of the Afghans had been evicted from accommodation they had used for years.

“The deliberate evictions were not made public,” he added. “Some people have been living in their homes for years and have been uprooted from their social structures, including children who have been moved to places away from their respective schools.”

Alaows told Foreign Policy magazine: “Living conditions for few people have improved, but most were afraid to speak out, fearing it would impact their immigration status.”

He said the fault does not lie with the Ukrainian refugees, but that there is a difference in their treatment and in the way the authorities have handled the influx of Afghan refugees.

“The last few months have shown that a different treatment of refugees is possible, and this must be systematically embedded in our society,” he added.

The Berlin Senate’s Department for Integration, Labor and Social Services cited “operationally difficult and necessary considerations” as the basis for the expulsions, and said there was “no alternative “because the Ukrainian arrivals needed immediate shelter.

Stefan Strauss, the department’s press officer, said: “We regret that this has caused additional hardship for Afghan families and that those affected have had to leave their familiar surroundings, and may now have to maintain their social ties with many difficulty. .”

He added that the German capital is hosting around 22,000 refugees in 83 accommodation centres, but Ukrainian arrivals must be housed together for processing purposes. He said the evicted Afghans had been given equivalent accommodation elsewhere.

Germany has officially admitted 160,000 Ukrainian refugees since the start of the conflict on February 24.

However, the real figure would be much higher due to visa-free access between the two countries and the lack of controls at the German-Polish border.

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Edward L. Robinett