Month: <span>October 2016</span>

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.

Personally affected

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.

petition-stopp-von-dublin-iii-abschiebungen-nach-kroatien_1476176055Petition sign

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.

yusefWhat is your name and how old are you?

My name is Yusef and I am 18 years old.

Where are you from?

I come from Syria, from the Kurdish city of Hasaka. Later I lived in Damascus.

Why did you come to Austria?

Because there is war in our country and I should join the Syrian army at the age of 18. The PKK also enlists all men over the age of 18 to their army. But I do not want to fight.

I wanted to come to Austria because the husband of my sister was in Austria for a year and three months.


Where does your family live?

One of my sisters has a husband who works in Istanbul. That is why we went there. Now my parents and two of my sisters are living in Istanbul. Another sister is living in Macedonia near the Greek border. My brother Shivan lives with me and two of my brothers are still in Damascus.

I am the youngest of the siblings.

What did you do in your homeland?

From age seven I went to school. I had to repeat two classes because of constant conflicts; I could not go to school very often. I couldn’t finish a further year because during the mid-year school holidays, the fighting was coming closer and closer to my parents’ house and I couldn’t leave the house. So I finished elementary school a few years later than usual. Normally you finish elementary school aged 12, I was over 14 when I finished. It was very difficult in Damascus. I am a Kurd and Sunni and lived with my family in a district where only Shiites live. After school I worked for a year in a sweet shop as a salesman, because I couldn’t go anywhere.

At the age of 15, I fled to a relative in Qamishle: my brother Shivan, who is two years older than me, had previously escaped there too. My whole family apart from two brothers came with me. The situation was getting progressively worse. We stayed for about seven months in Qamishle then we fled with the family to Turkey. My brother Shivan was already there. He was working in a factory as a tailor. I lived in Istanbul for a while and worked with Shivan in a textile factory. Then we decided to go to Europe.

Which languages do you speak?

I speak Arabic and Kurdish. A bit of English and a little German. I taught myself English during the last year.

What are your hobbies?

I play football!

What plans do you have for your future in Austria?

I would like to become a football professional, play in a club, train.

If that does not work, I would like to work as a tailor and learn this profession really well.

What would you like from the Austrians?

I wish more help learning German from the Austrians, because that is the key to everything else. I just want starting help, that’s very important. After that I would like to do everything myself.

Would you like to say something else?

Yes: Thanks for everything, thank you! And I promise to become a good fellow citizen in Austria.


With the help of donors we have financed a German A2 course from September to November (fees and tickets) for Yusef.
Now we hope that with the help of generous donors he will be able to attend the follow-up course from mid-November.

nikolausklWhat is your name and how old you are?

My name is Aws, but in Austria I call myself Nikolaus. I am 35 years old.

Where are you from?

I come from the district of Al Karadh in Baghdad city in Iraq. About two months ago some bombs exploded there killing 191 people. This was in all the newspapers in Austria.

Where does your family live?

My mother and my two brothers still live in Baghdad. Sadly, my father died five years ago.

What did you do in your homeland?

I was a cameraman for Channel Baghdad. I had a team with which I made reports on different topics and contributions for the news.

Why did you come to Austria?

There is a religious war taking place in Iraq. The militia persecutes anyone who works for television. I have been shot at; the bullet seriously injured my leg. The militia caught me and beat me up badly. Following the trauma of this experience, I lost all the hair on my body overnight.
Following that, I escaped to Turkey and waited there for a month; I was paralyzed with fear. Then I came across the sea in a small boat. They said we had to head in one direction for an hour and a half and then we would reach a small island. But after three hours we still hadn’t found an island. It was icy cold and completely dark. Everyone on the boat was in panic. We were able to contact the coast guard using a mobile phone and the Greek coast guard saved us with a ship.

Which languages do you speak?

I speak Arabic, a little bit of English and now a little German.

What are your hobbies?

I like swimming, but I’m a bit afraid of the water now. I like singing and listening to music. And I like to work-out to stay fit.

What plans do you have for your future in Austria?

I would very much like to work as a cameraman for television again. When I have work, I want to start a family and lead a normal life.

What do you want from Austria?

I wish from Austria that I can live here, that I can work here, so that I can feel safe again and have the chance to recover and process the painful experiences from Iraq

Would you like to say anything else?

Thanks, to all those who are helping me, sympathizing with me and taking care of me, here in Austria. I very much hope the rules for refugees will become easier, they are constantly changing and we are always afraid that we will have to leave. We love the people here; they have helped us a lot. I sincerely hope to have a good future here.


With the help of donations we have financed Nikolaus to attend a German A1+ course (course fees and travel) from September to November.