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Austria - Vote in favour of law allowing rejection of asylum claims at the border

Publié le 1er-06-2016

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« The Austrian parliament’s lower house voted on 27 April 2016 in favour of a more restrictive asylum seeker law. According to the law, the government can call a state of emergency in response to large numbers of migrants and refugees arrive at its borders, giving authorities the right to deny people entry to the country to seek asylum. A state of emergency would be set for six months, but can be extended for up to two years.
Migrants and refugees who have close relatives in Austria, as well as unaccompanied children and migrant and refugee women with young children, are exempted from this measure.
Appeals against returns will only be possible after the return has taken place. The law also further restricts possibilities for family reunification. Those with subsidiary protection can bring their families to Austria after three years and have to prove a certain level of economic stability. Several politicians, organisations and institutions criticized the law including Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights. The day after the vote, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, expressed his concern about increasingly restrictive migration and refugee policies in a speech to the Austrian Parliament. Although he did not mention Austria in particular, his comments were understood to allude in part to these developments. The vote follows the first round victory of right-wing Freedom party (FPÖ) candidate, Norbert Hofer, in Austrian Presidential elections on 24 April. However, in the final round of voting on 23 May, Hofer was beaten by rival Alexander van der Bellen, former spokesman of the Austrian Green Party. The son of a refugee, Van der Bellen won 50.3% of the 4.64 million votes cost, compared to 49.7% for Hofer. Van der Bellen led the vote in nine out of ten major cities while Hofer fared better in rural areas. Meanwhile, Austria also announced plans to build a fence at the Brenner Pass, the border between Austria and Italy, and to establish additional controls at the border. Angelino Alfano, Italian Minister for the Interior, criticized the proposed move by Austria for being politically and economically damaging.

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