Tag Archives: Austria

Global Event: The Afghanistan Exodus

The International Situation of Afghan Asylum-Seekers

The pullout of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the subsequent collapse of the Afghan government has generated a wave of Afghan people fleeing incoming Taliban rule. With the Taliban committed to governing according to fundamentalist interpretations of Islamic law, concerns are particularly heightened for women, ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTQ+ people, journalists, and those who supported the fight against the Taliban. Abroad, governments have debated whether and to what degree to accept asylum-seekers, with many seeking to either offshore asylum processing or contain refugees to the immediate region of southwest and Central Asia. For refugees who do make it out, the intensification of anti-immigrant sentiment across the world’s regions in recent years—including the increasing political power of far-right nativist movements—has created new threats for asylum-seekers in their destination countries.

While politicians and analysts around the world bicker over responsibility and blame, Afghans scramble to exit before the full weight of the new Taliban regime comes down. Here is a collection of reporting on the conditions in Afghanistan for those needing refuge, which countries are offering haven, and reactions from the Afghan diaspora.

Continue reading Global Event: The Afghanistan Exodus

Austria News | Muslims

Austrian government announces Islam crackdown, shutters mosques
  • Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced that it would be dissolving the Arab Religious Group, which runs six mosques, along with a Turkish mosque and would be shut down.
  • The Interior Chancellor also announced that the residence permits of dozens of foreign-born imams associated with Turkish organization ATIB were under review, which could lead to their deportation if revoked.
  • Implementing its pledge to restrict immigration and monitor assimilation, the government, a conservative coalition that includes the far-right Freedom Party, is using as justification a 2015 law prohibiting the foreign funding of religious groups and for Muslim organizations to support the Austrian state and society.

Austria to shut 7 mosques and could expel dozens of imams” (Al Jazeera | June 2018)

Austria shuts down seven mosques in what it says is ‘just the beginning’ of a crackdown” (The Washington Post | June 2018)

Erdoğan warns of ‘crusader-crescent war’ after Austria’s shutting of mosques” (Hurriyet Daily News | June 2018)

Austria News | Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual

Austria’s highest court recognizes same-sex marriage rights
  • The Constitutional Court of Austria ruled that the country’s law banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
  • The law in question, introduced in 2009, allowed for registered partnerships but not full marriage for same-sex couples, creating discriminatory sex-based classes of partnership.
  • The decision paves the way for same-sex couples in Austria to begin marrying in 2019, becoming the 16th European country to recognize same-sex marriage rights.

Austria’s supreme court paves way for same-sex marriage from 2019” (Reuters | December 2017)

Austrian Supreme Court rules in favour of same-sex marriage” (BBC News | December 2017)

Austrian court rules same-sex couples can marry from 2019” (CNN | December 2017)

Austria News | Asylum-Seekers

Asylum center attack the latest in a series in Austria
  • Unidentified assailants threw a molotov cocktail at the center near Vienna, damaging a wall but leaving occupants uninjured.
  • Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, with anti-immigrant sentiments having ratcheted up ahead of the upcoming presidential election pitting the independent incumbent against a far-right nationalist candidate.
  • The attack follows the arson of a newly built but unoccupied refugee center in Altenfelden earlier in the year.

Read more:
Austrian asylum center hit by Molotov cocktail” (Reuters)
Haunted by asylum center fire, divided Austrian town prepares to vote” (Reuters)
Austria sees 13 attacks on refugee centres in 3 months” (The Local Austria, June 2016)

Europe & Eurasia Research | LGBTI

The State of LGBTI Security in Europe

ILGA-Europe recently released its annual report on the state of LGBT rights and security across the Europe. Covering developments in individual countries and transnational institutions from 2015, the report notes increasing legal protections for gender minorities and family and partnership rights for sexual minorities in Southern and Western Europe as well as ongoing political exclusion, persecution, and violence in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Here are some of the highlights:


Rated the most progressive European country, Malta’s groundbreaking law prohibiting surgical intervention into a person’s sex characteristics without consent and inclusive education policies for trans, intersex, and other gender minorities were cited as distinctive policies.

Finland, France, Greece, Ireland

Other countries with significant judicial or policy victories regarding the rights of gender minorities.

Ireland, Luxembourg

Countries extending marriage rights to same-sex couples

Cyprus, Greece

Countries extending civil partnership rights to same-sex couples

Austria, Portugal

Countries extending adoption rights to same-sex couples

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia

Bottom three countries for LGBTI security

Armenia, FYR Macedonia, Slovenia

Countries blocking same-sex marriage rights

Hungary, Montenegro, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine

Countries denying, limiting, or antagonizing organization and assembly rights of LGBTI civil society groups

Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex People in Europe 2016 (ILGA-Europe)

Rainbow Europe
Azerbaijan worst place to be gay in Europe, finds LGBTI index” (The Guardian)
Which EU states are out of touch on gay marriage?” (euronews)

Austria & Hungary News | Migrants & Refugees

Austria announces it will check migrants’ asylum status at border with Hungary
  • Hundreds of migrants discovered on an overcrowded train from Budapest at the Austrian border will have their status checked by Austrian authorities.
  • If migrants are discovered to have applied for asylum in Hungary, they will be barred from further movement and returned to Hungary.
  • Migrants with no asylum application in progress will be given two weeks to decide whether to apply for asylum in Austria, or be returned to their last country of transit.

Read the full story at Reuters.

German couple starts roommate-matching service for refugees in the country
  • In late 2014, Jonas Kakoschke and Mareike Geiling started Flüchtlinge Willkommen (Refugees Welcome), a platform where Germans can advertise open rooms in their homes available to refugees.
  • Provided for a set period of time, the room advertisements are reviewed by local NGO partners to find a suitable match and is provided free of charge to refugees, financed by either local governments or microfinancing.
  • So far, 52 matches in 11 towns have been made, with the service having recently expanded to Austria as well.

“We are not like the solution for many thousands of people. …We are more like an experiment and a political statement to say, ‘Hey, there are people here who want to welcome other people in a positive way.’”

More on this story at BuzzFeed.

(Image Credit: Facebook photo, via BuzzFeed)

Italy PM calls for EU asylum rule revision as his country struggles with migrant influx
  • PM Matteo Renzi has called for a change in the Dublin II regulation, which stipulates that refugees must apply for asylum in the country of entry, as neighboring states France and Austria tighten their border controls.
  • With Southern European states like Italy and Greece bearing the brunt of the historic trans-Mediterranean migration taking place, Renzi argues the regulation is standing in the way of other countries bearing their fair share of incoming refugees.
  • Renzi criticized the EU’s proposed refugee distribution plan that will relocate 24,000 from Italy and 16,000 from Greece to other countries in the European bloc.

“Migration is a serious issue and – let’s be frank – the answers that Europe is giving are insufficient. Relocating only 24,000 people is almost a provocation.”

More on this story at Deutsche Welle.

(Image Credit: via Deutsche Welle)