Austrian NGOs Criticize Restrictive Asylum Practices for Chechens
Austrian NGOs organized a joint press conference in which they expressed their concerns about the situation facing Chechen asylum seekers who are sent back to the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.
According to reports, on April 18, at a joint press conference, the “SOS Fellow Humans” (SOS Mitmensch), a political action committee, “Amnesty International’s Austria branch“, and “International Center for Advanced and Comparative EU-Russia” (ICEUR-Vienna), warned Austrian authorities that if they send asylum seekers back to Chechnya, their lives will be in danger.
“It is getting more and more difficult to get asylum in Austria for Chechens. The practice has became more restrictive. The positive responses, which were 60% in 2006, decreased to 20% last year. In fact in Chechnya, people stil disappear, there is torture, and the pro-Russian regime has no interest in seeking justice. A climate of lawlessness and impunity prevails. The prosecution of violations are ‘zero’. Even I, who is against Ramzan Kadyrov, lives in danger,” said Nadja Lorenz, the president of “SOS Fellow Humans”.
“If Chechen asylum seekers have to return to Chechnya, they will have two other problems. First, all those who are abroad are suspect. Secondly, Russians think that Europe is golden and he or she who returns from there must have a lot of money. Thus, they will be an easy target for extortion. And for Chechens, they have no alternative to go other parts of the Russian Federation because they will face represssion,” said Hans-Georg Henrich, the vice-president of ICEUR-Vienna.
“If you send people back to Chechnya, they will be in critical conditions. The renovation of the infrastructure does not mean there has been an improvement in the situation,” said Heinz Patzelt from the Amnesty International.
*Text was written by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco