Austria to relocate 500 asylum seekers to Slovakia

Refugees in Austria to move to Slovakia due to overcrowded reception center

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Austrian interior ministry announced that 500 asylum seekers in the Vienna refugee arrival center are to be sent to Slovakia to decrease the density of the center after 1,200 people started to sleep outside.

Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said on Thursday that the deported asylum seekers will be accommodated in an old university building in Gabcikovo town on the Austrian border starting with August.

"With this initiative Slovakia is showing solidarity. It’s a small step, but one which sends a great signal," Mikl-Leitner added.

Interior minister of Slovakia Robert Kalinak spoke to Slovak news agency ORF saying that Slovakia has been ready to help Austria to relieve the country’s stress in the asylum system.

Reminiscing about Austria’s help when Slovakia was joining the Schengen zone, Kalinak said that “we’re not just friends on sunny days, but also on rainy days.”

Amnesty International Austria slammed the Austrian government over the decision to move refugees saying “asylum dumping” is a violation of human rights.

The move comes after pictures of refugees who slept outside of the Vienna refugee centre (Traiskirchen asylum processing centre) attracted the attention of human right groups and the Austrian public.

The Traiskirchen centre is located in Lower Austria and has been sheltering 3,200 asylum seekers. However only 900 of the refugees can sleep in beds. The rest of them have been sleeping in corridors, and 1200 of them ended up sleeping outside.

In order to find a solution to the high influx of migrants reaching the EU shores, the European Commision recently proposed the redistribution of 40,000 new migrant arrivals among EU member states within the next two years in accordance with a “distribution key” that considers a country’s population size, unemployment rate and number of asylum seekers previously accepted.

Italy, Germany, Austria and Sweden are key supporters of the proposal. However, there is uncertainty as to whether or not it will go ahead as the suggestions must be agreed upon by all EU member states.  

TRTWorld and agencies