Since 24th of Nov. 2012, a protest of refugees stirs up debate on the inhumane treatment of migrants in Austria. This sort of protest is completely new to the country and has aroused the interest of the mass media, triggered public debate, and gained some support from civil society. While there seems to be considerable sympathy for the protesters in Vienna, the Ministry of the Interior does not adress the grievances and demands of the refugees until now. Instead, two of them have been deported.
After they had left their prison-like detention center in Traiskirchen, the refugees camped in front of the Votivkirche church for several weeks, until the police evicted them. Protesters entered the nearby church and remain there. They had started a hungerstrike on 22nd of Dec. 2012, and stopped it for ten days beginning on 22nd of Jan. 2013 to gain strength. They are now again on hungerstrike.
During the whole protest, harassments of the police and right-extremist groups continued. Some voices in the mass media seem to get impatient with the protesters who do not show signs of surrender. The refugees are in a dangerous situation even besides the life-threatening hungerstrike, given the fact that African protesters several years ago were prosecuted in a large-scale police offensive called “Operation Spring”, with many dying under rather mysterious circumstances in the following years.
Solidarity actions continue, with a demonstration called for on 16th Feb. 2012 in Vienna.
See the timeline for a full account of events.
The demands of the refugees are:
The following are the concretized demands, 18.12.2012:
- Grundversorgung (basic support) for all asylum seekers, as long as they reside in Austria, irrespective of their legal status;
- Free choice of their location of residence in Austria, and access to public housing for all asylum seekers residing in Austria – no transfers against the wishes of the people concerned;
- Access to employment, educational institutions and social security for all migrants residing in Austria;
- Stop all deportations to Hungary – stop all deportations associated with the Dublin Regulation 2;
- Establishment of an independent authority for substantive review and appeal of all negative replies to asylum applications;
- Recognition of socio-economic motives in addition to the previously recognized escape reasons
If you don’t want to meet our demands, then please delete our fingerprints from your data bases and let us move on. We are entitled to our future.