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Austrian report Austrian report
by Euro Reporter
2011-04-05 09:58:22
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Austria says Turkey must recall ambassador

Austria demands that Turkey should recall its ambassador from Vienna, writes Turkish Beyazgazete newspaper. Official Vienna gave to understand to Ankara through diplomatic sources that it must recall its ambassador Ecved Tezcan. The reason is interview given by Turkish diplomat to Die Presse newspaper. The Austrian side warned the visit of President Heinz Fischer to Turkey may be cancelled unless Ankara meets the demand.

In an interview with newspaper, Kadri Ecved Tezcan criticized Austria’s policy on immigrants, saying Turks did not wish to be treated “like a virus”. Turkish Ambassador advised Austrians “to learn to live with others”.

Interview angered Austrian political forces and some of them even demand that diplomatic relations with Ankara should be suspended.


‘Austrian asylum law too harsh’

The UN refugee agency said a draft law that would tighten asylum rules in Austria would restrict immigrants’ choice of legal advice, support and freedom of movement and was especially hard on children.

The draft legislation could take effect in July if approved by parliament, and comes after the rightist Freedom party won support from the main governing parties last October who are eyeing voters’ discontent over immigration in particular.

The UN agency cited provisions that would force asylum seekers to stay in a reception centre for up to seven days or else face detention, Andrej Mahecic, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told a media briefing. “Even a child awaiting the outcome of an asylum application and whose parents already reside legally in Austria would be affected by this new law. Families could be separated for up to a week,” he said, citing provisions in the bill that say children aged 14 to 18 may be subject to detention.

A spokesman for Austria’s interior ministry defended the draft, saying it was important that authorities have access to asylum seekers while their status was being determined and that asylum seekers had access to independent legal advisers.


Austria presents plans to restore, revamp WWII Mauthausen concentration camp

Austrian authorities presented plans Wednesday to restore and revamp the former Mauthausen concentration camp, calling it an important contribution to preventing the resurgence of Nazi sentiment. The Nazis shot, gassed, beat or worked to death about half the 200,000 inmates in the main camp or its affiliates around the villages of Mauthausen and Gusen, located near the city of Linz. It is now a site for commemorating Holocaust victims and learning about the horrors of history. About 200,000 people — including many students — visit Mauthausen each year.

Projects include an exhibit about mass extermination, expanding educational programs and the creation of a new space specifically for the remembrance of those who died, the Interior Ministry said.

"With this, we are sending a signal that the republic is assuming its national and international responsibility to commemorate the victims of the Nazi regime," Interior Minister Maria Fekter said in a statement. "We are also sending signals against intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism."

The first phase of the revamp is expected to cost €1.7 million ($2.4 million) and be completed in early 2013. A Jewish group welcomed the announcement. "The preservation of this site is a solemn tribute to the innocent victims of the Nazi 'extermination through labour' policies," Elan Steinberg, vice-president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said in a statement. "It will serve an important commemorative and educational role for the youth and future generations of Austria".

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