Austria Accused of Violating Child Rights

Veronika Oleksyn, Salon, October 14, 2010

Austria should stop detaining children and halt the deportations of well-integrated foreign families that are denied asylum, Amnesty International and three other groups urged Thursday.

The country also should better protect the rights of non-Austrian minors and become more lenient about allowing young asylum seekers and their parents to stay on humanitarian grounds, the organizations, which include Caritas, SOS Kinderdorf and Diakonie, said in a letter to lawmakers.

The appeal comes just days after two 8-year-old twins were taken into custody with their father in an early morning raid and deported back to their native Kosovo. Their mother, who is in psychiatric care, stayed behind. The four had lived in Austria since 2004 but were expelled after being denied asylum and refusing to leave on their own.

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“It can’t be necessary for the security of the republic to separate two children from their mother and to forcefully get them out of the country,” the groups wrote in their joint letter presented outside parliament in the Austrian capital, Vienna. {snip}

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