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Amnesty: Austria cap on asylum seekers violates human rights

[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] warned [press release, in German] Tuesday that Austria is violating the human rights of asylum seekers by putting caps of 80 requests per day through the main migrant route. Heinz Patzelt, of Amnesty International Austria said on ORF radio [media website, in German] "[t]he Geneva Convention does not know the terms quota or admission limit ... and the Geneva Convention is binding law in Austria. We are breaking international law." The government has maintained that they are working completely within their laws. Austria accepted more than 90,000 asylum seekers last year, and government officials have said they are responding to inaction by other European countries.

The rights of migrant populations has emerged as one of the most significant humanitarian issue around the world, as millions seek asylum from conflict nations. Last week a top EU official warned Austria not to go ahead with plans to cap the asylum-seeker numbers, stating that any such move would be unlawful [JURIST report]. Earlier this month the German Cabinet approved new asylum laws [JURIST report] in response to the hundreds of thousands of refugees that have entered the country since the beginning of 2015. The bill will speed up asylum procedures and related legal appeals and will bar entry into the country for some asylum seekers' families for a period of two years. In January Danish lawmakers approved a controversial bill that will allow Danish authorities to seize assets [JURIST report] from immigrants seeking asylum in order to cover their expenses. In December the EU opened an infringement case [JURIST report] against Hungary's new asylum law and the country's response to the refugee situation.

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