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Caritas slams “abbey asylum seekers” deportation

By Rob Hyde


Caritas has slammed Austria’s move to deport 8 Pakistani asylum seekers who have been living in an abbey.

The catholic charity’s general secretary said authorities have made a “completely incorrect” assessment of how dangerous Pakistan is.

The Pakistani men were moved in March 2013 from the Votivkirche church in Vienna to the nearby Serviten abbey. After their application for asylum application was rejected, police arrested them and they now face deportation.

Caritas general secretary Klaus Schwertner criticized the arrest, and said he asked himself the question: “what sort of role did that the fact that it is election time, play in this event.”

Police said the men had “rejected many offers to return of their own free will.”

Today supporters of the refugees are holding a protest in front of the Rossauer barracks in Vienna’s 9th district.

On its website, the Austrian government says migrants “…are  no longer a marginal group in Vienna but constitute an essential element of the local population.”

Since 1st January, 2003, migrants from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) are legally obliged to sign an ‘integration agreement’ which outlines how they must acquire basic German language skills.

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