Two Afghan sisters who lost a landmark asylum case at the European Union’s top court have been deported from Austria, aid agencies say.
Khadija and Zainab Jafari and their three young children arrived in Austria in 2016, but were not granted asylum.
The authorities decided they should be sent back to Croatia because it was their point of entry to the EU.
The sisters challenged this at the European Court of Justice [ECJ], but it ruled in favour of the authorities.
Under the so-called Dublin regulation, refugees typically have to seek asylum in the first EU state they reach.
EU migrant crisis: Austria can deport asylum seekers, court says
The EU’s top court has ruled that a law requiring refugees to seek asylum in the first country they reach applies even in exceptional circumstances.
The case, brought by Austria and Slovenia, could affect the future of several hundred people who arrived during the migrant crisis of 2015-16.
The ruling concerns two Afghan families and a Syrian who applied for asylum after leaving Croatia.
The court says it is Croatia’s responsibility to decide their cases.
The crisis unfolded during the summer of 2015, as one million migrants and refugees travelled through the Western Balkans.
Under the so-called Dublin regulation, refugees typically have to seek asylum in the first EU state they reach. But Germany suspended the Dublin regulation for Syrian refugees, halting deportations to the countries they arrived in.