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Sunday, September 6, 2015, Bhadra 22, 1422 BS, Zilqad 21, 1436 Hijr

Bangladeshis among asylum seekers in Austria
Observer Online Desk
Published :Sunday, 6 September, 2015,  Time : 7:39 PM  View Count : 24
There are Bangladesh nationals among the thousands of asylum seekers in Austria, Bangladesh's embassy in Vienna has learnt.

But when asked, Ambassador Mohammed Abu Zafar could not provide specific numbers.

“We cannot be involved (with the host country) about our nationals if they are seeking asylum in another country,” he told on Sunday.

“But from Austrian interpreters in different camps handling the refugees, we have learnt that Bangladeshis are there,” he said.

“This is not new. In the last eight or nine months we again unofficially came to know that every month at least 15 or 20 Bangladeshis seek asylum in Austria.”

Bangladesh has opened its mission in Austria only last year, and the first resident ambassador, Zafar, presented his credentials in December.

The asylum seeking in Vienna came to the fore after Austria and Germany threw open their borders to thousands of asylum seekers who have been travelling from Hungary after Budapest eased restrictions on their travel.

Pressure rose after a recent picture flashed around the world of the body of three-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish resort beach.

Based on information provided by the interpreters, Ambassador Zafar said Bangladeshis were coming to Austria from Turkey and Libya.

“Some of them also come directly from Bangladesh in a difficult journey via Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey and it takes more than a year and a half for them to reach the Austrian border.”

“We just keep an eye. We (Bangladesh mission) have nothing to do under international refugee convention.”

At least 24 Bangladeshis died last month in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast when two rickety boats carrying migrants capsized.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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