[ 13. Jul 2015 ]

Refugees spoke up for their rights - Report from Traiskirchen

On Staturday, 11th of July 2015, hundreds (around 500, maybe altoghether up to 1000 because of constant coming and going) of people - most of them inhabitants of Traiskirchen refugee camp - participated in a demo from Traiskirchen station through the neighbourhood to the gate of the refugee camp.


The demo was announced under the title "Refugees welcome! Stop human rights violations in Traiskirchen! Stop racist Asylum policies!" One important reason for people from Vienna to call now for this demo was the feeling that the absolutely unbearable, inhumame living conditions in Traiskirchen, created by Austrian interior ministry and authorities, demand really a quick response of solidarity with the refugees.

What was, in the end, really impressive about this demo: The refugees living in Traiskirchen really made this demo THEIR demo. It could be said "refugees welcome" was turned into "refugees speak up for their interests and their rights". From the beginning till the end, refugees from the camp took the microphone to speak up on their own behalf.

Issues and demands that were raised: People complain about the bad living conditions in which many of them don't have any bed and are forced to sleep on the floor or outside under the trees, in heat and rain. Also the food is very bad and does not correspond at all to the needs of the refugees. Medical care does not really work at all, people wait for hours without seeing a doctor. As a consequence of all these bad conditions, most people demand to get a quick transfer away from the horrible conditions of Traiskirchen refugee camp. "Transfer, transfer!" was a slogan often shouted. People found it very injust that many of them have been waiting for quite a long time for transfer without any result. Besides the whole topic of bad living conditions, the demand to stop Dublin-deportations was a major issue that was raised. "We don't want to be sent to Hungary, to Bulgaria, to Italy...", speakers pointed
out, while some people were holding sheets of paper with "stop Dublin" slogans. It became clear that a really big part of the people presently living in Traiskirchen is under threat of Dublin deportation. For this reason, they have only green asylum cards, restricting their freedom of movement to the district of Baden, while deportation can happen at any time. For young refugees at minor age, the threat of Dublin deporation is connected to a humiliating procedure of age check. Often, the
docotors and the authorities responsible for the age checks claim that the person is older than she had said, in order to make it possible to deport this person through Dublin rule. Some speakers pointed out that they definitely want to stay in Austria and not move away any more, while others brought up the demand to let them move on freely to a country of their choice if Austria is not ready to let them stay under
proper conditions.

What I also want to point out:

- People showed their concern, their protest and their anger against horrible living conditions. Still, the demo was not just an expression of desparation, but also an expression of great power and confidence to be able to achieve a better life and a better future.

- Members of many different nationality groups participated and spoke up. Although many of the people were very interested to represent their own group - for example by showing Afghan, Somali and Kurdish flags) - there was also an atmoshere of mutual solidarity and standing together.

-While most speakers were male, at least some women spoke up, too. For example one woman who talked about the threat of Dublin deportation to Bulgaria she is presently facing. For future demos, it should be a challenge to create a space that makes it attractive and possible for more women to take the microphone.

After all, people who want to practice solidarity: Go to Traiskirchen, listen to the refugees and their demands and do something to actively support their struggle and their demands!

This article was written by one of the organisers of the demonstration.