Monday, November 10, 2008

Refugees Austria Political Asylum

Content Overview: * Refugees in Austria, * Austrian Organizations that help refugees, * Never forget (persecution of Jews in Austria).

This post is joining (a part of) BlogCatalogs BloggersUnite action to raise awareness for refugees.
"Bloggers Unite is an attempt to harness the power of the blogosphere to make the world a better place."
"The core cause of Bloggers Unite and Refugees United is information. Information leads to empowerment."

To be a refugee has a lot to do with having ('owing') a well founded fear of persecution for many reasons.
The official definition:
... a well founded fear ...

Since 1945 around 2 million refugess have come to Austria. Most of them moved onwards to other countries, 700.000 chose to stay in Austria.

Because of its geographical location, for some time, Austria WAS one of the most important countries in Europe to receive those that fled worsening conditions in their countries.

Culminations in the movement of refugees were also caused by conflicts in neighbor states of Austria like Hungary (1956), Czechoslovakia (1968) and Yugoslavia (1994).

For example: 1994 there were around 60.000 refugees from former Yugoslavia in Austria. Just for orientation: Austria got 1961 7.09 million inhabitants and 2007 8.32 million inhabitants.

Refugees from Hungary, 1956

Well I don't want to give you a too 'rosy' (optimistic) picture of the situation for refugees in Austria. It's one thing to want poltical asylum and it's another one to get it.

The refugee camp 'FlüchtlingsLager TraisKirchen', first place for refugees to Austria.

Some numbers can show this (Source: UNHCR)

Year Applications Got political asylum
2007 11.879 4936

2006 13.349 4063

2005 22.461 4650

2004 24.676 5208

2003 32.359 2084

2002 39.354 1073

2001 30.127 1152

2000 18.284 1002

Such tables are and have been subjects of intensive debate of the political parties. Generally it can be said that attitudes are kind of moving 'to the right'. Thus meaning that the whole political landscape has become more 'reserved' in giving political asylum to each and every refugee that manages to 'land' in Austria. This mostly out of the necessity to win elections because ... as it seems ... Austrians and especially people in Vienna have become pretty critical of 'AusLänder' ('Land' = country, 'AusLand' = from outside of the country).

Recently also the percentage of refugees coming from Iraq and Afghanistan has risen.

I will not go into any more details here. Further information can be easily found at the UNHCR and other places.

Now I hint to some Austrian Organizations that do help refugees and that are very concerned about HUMAN RIGHTS FOR EVERYBODY EVERYWHERE.

Besides governmental institutions the Austrian Caritas is caring for accomodations, lodging, supervision and mentoring. It's important for this organizaton, which is closely related to the Catholic Church, to not leave refugees alone but that refugees are able to live humanely.

Refugee Service: FlüchtlingsDienst der Diakonie

Since 1991 the 'AsylKoordination Österreich' (asylum-coordination Austria) fights for the rights of refugees, for a society without discrimination and prejudices.

The pressure group SOS Mitmensch fighting and working for the enforcement of Human Rights with the goal of equal opportunities and equal status for all people ... so also and in special: refugees.

Anti-fashistic No-Racism.Net is watching the rightist scene in Austria.

Chances (projects) for refugees at the employment or man- (woman-) power market. (Only for 'approved', 'acknowledged' ... refugees.

And if you want to put yourself into the shoes of a refugee you might like to play this online game: LastExitFlucht


There was also a time when people fled away from Austria or when it would have been better for them if they had done it. Exactly 70 years ago on November the 10th in 1938 the Jewish Temple in Vienna looked like this:
Jewish Temple of Vienna (burnt by the mob) after the night of the 'NovemberPogrom' 1938

In the night from November the 9th to November the 10th 1938 Austrian Citizens attacked fellow Citizens (Jews) for the reason of racism, hate ... and propaganda. People got mobilized and a lot of damage, A LOT OF DAMAGE was done. Yes ..., sorry doesn't fix it.

The sign also says: "Don't shop at Jewish stores ..."

Soooo .....
Formerly a Nazi Propagand Poster of Adolf Hitler

... be awake, watch the 'signs of the times' and maybe distrust leaders that seem to be very ... charismatic ...
Maybe think to help and care about & for ... refugees.

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