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Austria: appeal from six humanitarian organisations, “unacceptable” to reject people seeking protection

A joint appeal was made by Caritas, Diakonie, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, the Austrian Red Cross and Volkshilfe (Peoples Aid) to the Austrian Federal Government to review the new restrictive policy against migrants and asylum seekers at a time when, inter alia, arrivals in Austria are in sharp decline. In the joint press release published today, great concern is expressed for the fact that the current asylum policy in Austria and Europe “is no longer primarily aimed at refugee protection, but at border control”. Refugees should have access to a fair and constitutional procedure in Europe: “We ask for more solidarity with those seeking asylum in the European Union, instead of the introduction of national barriers”, the six organizations stated. Moreover, although the number of refugees is increasing worldwide, there has been a substantial and steady decline in the number of those arriving in Europe and Austria, the six signatories emphasised. Taking into account the Austrian Presidency of the EU Council, the organisations urge the Federal Government to take responsibility for the protection of refugees in Austria and Europe. This means in practice that “it is unacceptable to reject people seeking protection within the EU”. For the humanitarian organisations, a reform of the Dublin system “is urgently needed”; indeed, there is a need to implement a solidarity-based approach in which the responsibility for reception does not lie solely on the shoulders of the EU’s southern Member States.

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