Austria wants to send people who came into Austria via Croatia before March 2016, back to Croatia and is not allowing them to apply for asylum in Austria.
Austria is proceeding this way in accordance with the Dublin III Regulation.
But Austria could also grant people the right to seek asylum here.
Organized Balkan route
In December and January and February, the Balkan refugee route was jointly controlled by all the EU states. According to the 2003 Dublin III Regulation, a refugee should submit his/her application for asylum in the first EU country he enters. This is intended to prevent illegal trafficking and, in particular, the submission of multiple asylum applications in several countries at the same time.
Austria and Germany used the “sovereignty clause” in the Balkan III Regulation to take over responsibility for processing applications. Fingerprints were taken and people registered in individual states, so that the number and identity of the people could be monitored. Refugees were told to give their fingerprints, show their identity, and informed that they could travel onto their country of choice without legal consequences.
Now the practice looks quite different and the Austrian authorities have sent requests for refugee transfers under the Dublin Regulation to Croatia.
Silence as consent
Croatia simply has not responded to the requests from Austria. The Austrian authorities have taken their silence as consent to take over the asylum procedures. Obviously, the inactivity of the Croatian authorities is being used by the Austrian Authorities to “get rid of” many asylum seekers as quickly as possible.
For some weeks now, Austria has been deporting well-integrated, German-speaking refugees to Croatia. Often this is done with some cruelty—families are separated, and people are picked up by the police from hospitals and schools. In Croatia the refugees face overloaded and poorly supplied camps. And legal uncertainty: Croatia has not given its consent. And so, another gruelling wait starts, in very bad conditions.
Inhuman and cruel
We find this policy inhumane. That refugees—who have already completed German courses; have friends and job opportunities in Austria; are involved in associations, communities and families; whose family members already have asylum in Austria; are role-models for integration—are torn from their new lives. After 10 months of waiting, in which they have done everything that the politicians demanded—learning German, integrating, helping—they are punished with deportation. What they were told (that giving their fingerprints has no consequences) has suddenly ceased to be true.
We, as people who have provided aid, are dismayed and personally deeply affected. We have invited some of these people into our families, have been with them daily since February, and have given them time, money, compassion and love. Now they are to be torn out of our lives. Even dependents, which our association scholarship4you have cared for, are affected.
We call for the immediate halt of deportations to Croatia under the Dublin Regulations for all asylum seekers who registered in Austria up to the time of the official closure of the Balkan route in March 2016. These deportations are, in our opinion, contrary to the purpose of the Dublin Regulation and morally and humanly inacceptable. The asylum procedure of these people should be continued and completed in Austria.