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Bosnia: Rights Groups Appeal For Delay In Repatriation Of Refugees

Munich, 18 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Human rights groups in Germany have again appealed to federal and provincial governments to delay the compulsory repatriation of Bosnian refugees, which is scheduled to begin next month.

"The nightmare of expulsion and flight should not be intensified by the nightmare of over-hasty compulsory repatriation," said a letter from the human rights group. It said compulsory repatriation should be delayed until the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees confirms that it is safe for them to return.

The appeal is addressed to the federal interior minister and the interior ministries of all German provinces. The individual interior ministers are responsible for deciding when repatriation should begin in their province.

The appeal was signed by Roman Catholic and Protestant groups and by the federal organization of the Greens party.

An estimated 320,000 refugees from the former Yugoslavia live in Germany. Compulsory repatriation has already been postponed twice. The government says few refugees have voluntarily returned to Bosnia.