Jail time for asylum seekers

Published on 12 January 2010 at 14:56
Die Presse, 12 January 2010

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In view of the fact that it is increasingly difficult to find sites for new refugee centres, asylum seekers will now be accommodated in correctional facilities while Austrian authorities rule on their eligibility to remain in the country. Die Pressereports that against a background of protests from local residents and municipal authorities, which have successfully hampered long-standing plans for more refugee accommodation, conservative Interior Minister Maria Fekter now stipulates that asylum seekers "must be resident" in a specific centre while their cases are being evaluated. In her defence, Austria's Iron Lady insists that the restrictions imposed on the freedom of asylum seekers do not constitute "internment" or "imprisonment." However, the Vienna daily, which is not the most left-leaning contributor to the debate on immigration, remarks that "imprisonment" for 28 days — which is the period required by authorities to reach a decision on an individual case — could be a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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