Amnesty says Austria asylum cap violates human rights

February 23, 2016 10:52
1 minute read.


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VIENNA - Human rights group Amnesty International accused Austria on Tuesday of violating human rights by capping the number of asylum requests it accepts per day with the government saying it was acting within the law.

Austria angered other EU states and pushed the European executive to say it was breaking the law by announcing this month it would not receive more than 80 asylum requests a day via the main migrant route from Slovenia.

"The Geneva Convention (for refugee rights) does not know the terms quota or admission limit... and the Geneva Convention is binding law in Austria. We are breaking international law," the head of Amnesty International Austria, Heinz Patzelt, said on ORF radio.

Austria, the last stop on the way to Germany for hundreds of thousands of migrants who have flocked to Europe, has not flinched at criticism of its quotas, and its interior minister said the daily caps had been introduced on Friday.

Austria says it is merely reacting to the lack of solidarity that other European states have shown by refusing to take in migrants or by failing to secure the EU's external borders after Austria accepted 90,000 asylum seekers last year.

"A country that can accommodate 2.8 million tourists a year can do more... It's obscene to accept a commitment such as the Geneva Convention and then to stop complying with it at the first crisis," Patzelt said.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Vienna said setting daily quotas for accepting asylum seekers via its border with Slovenia was "completely within the legal framework."

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