The confinement of more than 250 refugees in the mass quarantine camp in the Vienna fair halls has been over for several days . The health and human rights scandal that all these people were deprived of their freedom for two weeks on a legally more than questionable basis, locked up under undignified and intransparent conditions and exposed to a massive risk of infection, especially during quarantine, remains. And it should not be forgotten: The fact that people have now been returned to Erdberg, where some were initially infected with corona viruses, is not a satisfactory solution: we must not accept camp accommodation as the normal state of affairs for people seeking asylum.
The events in Vienna also bring to light another oppressive dimension, which proves that this is not just a housing policy issue, but one that highlights the drastic consequences of precarious existence as a whole .
It should not come as a surprise that those people who are patronized by the state on a daily basis, put in mass camps, deprived of their security and basic rights, are logically also dependent on extremely precarious and unhealthy working conditions.
The fact that these effects of precarious living and working - with or without papers - now also affect a Viennese shelter for the homeless , is not proof of the danger emanating from the supposed "fringes" of society (as the FPÖ would like to see), but rather an intensification and at the same time a disclosure of the exploitative, oppressive and disenfranchising functioning of the system in which we live.
One thing has become clear in recent days in Vienna:
In order to prevent the dangerous chains of infection, the dangerous chains of racism, exploitation and poverty must first be broken!
We therefore call upon you to participate with this message in the anti-fascist and anti-racist protests in Vienna  and Innsbruck  in the next days!
 Presseservice Wien: Brennpunkt Messe Wien
 Der Standard, 18. Mai 2020
 Auf die Situation in den Wiener Notquartieren wurde schon im Vorfeld vermehrt von der Basisgruppe "Initiative Sommerpaket" hingewiesen.
 Aufruf zum 20.5.2020: "Gemeinsam gegen die FPÖ-Kundgebung in Wien!"
 Aufruf zum 25.5.2020 in Innsbruck: "Grenzen töten!"
***Close down all camps!***
*Solidarity protest rally for the inhabitants of the quarantine camp in Wien-Messe*
Sunday, May 10th, 3pm in front of Messe Halle C, Vienna (U2 Krieau)
*Health is for everyone - Apartments instead of camps*
These days 300 persons are accommodated at the Vienna Fair buildings, because they are suspected to have Covid-19 infections. They were brought there after Covid-19 breakout in the refugee camp of Wien-Erdberg. Their accommodation at the Messe is a big risk for their health. Everyone has the right for proper living conditions where s*he can stay healthy and keep distance, have privacy and enjoy hygienic conditions.
*No accommodation in mass camps - neither in Messe, Erdberg or Traiskirchen*
The inhabitants of the Messe have already demonstrated in the last days: They demand a dignified and safe accommodation. We support their demands and show our solidarity in front of the closed quarantine camp.
*For a decentral, safe and dignified living for everyone!*
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1419814154870821/
Last week 19 residents from an asylum accomodation in Vienna were tested positive about Covid-19. The authorities reacted by closing down the facility, but finally brought 400 former residents to a quarantine accomodation at the Vienna fair. Now hundreds of people who were in touch with those infected live together in one fair hall.
Today first protests erupted and the residents demanded:
Here are some pictures taken by the residents and sent to us:
This is a translation and summary of the following news from Germany:
In Germany, the social distance rules for protection against the coronavirus must also be observed in reception centres for asylum seekers. This was announced by the administrative court in Leipzig on Wednesday in a decision. Specifically, it concerned the case of an asylum seeker who had to share a four-square-metre small room with another person in a refugee camp in the district of North Saxony. In addition, the toilets, showers, and kitchen are to accommodate about 50 people.
The court has now released the man from the obligation to live in this accommodation and, in its reasoning, referred to the fact that "it is absolutely necessary to prevent the spread of the disease Covid-19, especially in accommodation for asylum seekers". The man was also at risk of hospitalisation or serious illness due to his age.
"It is a ground-breaking decision, which the Administrative Court of Leipzig issued today and which nevertheless confirms the obvious", writes the association "Sächsischer Flüchtlingsrat" in a first reaction. "This decision means nothing other than that the country must now immediately close the mass housing facilities!"
This is a translation of the following press release:
"Alarm: Hunger Strike in detention centres - Endangerment of people in detention during Covid-19
Vienna (OTS) - The initiative "Close Return Centres" received the following information: Despite the fact that deportations cannot be carried out, over 100 people are currently held in detention. Despite Covid-19 and the infeasability of deportations, people are not being released from detention. For 7 days now, more than 10 people have been on hunger strike in the detention centre Rossauer Lände. Some of them have resorted to drastic measures and have sewn up their mouths. Several prisoners in the detention centre Hernals are also on hunger strike. All those affected have been in detention for several months and could not be deported to date.
"The hunger strike is an expression of the inhuman and dangerous conditions to which persons in dention are being exposed in general and even more so during Covid-19." The cells are said to be closed for 24 hours, visits have been forbidden since March 19, and due to lack of staff, visits in the internal court are only sometimes allowed. In view of the described conditions, the initiative concludes: "In prison, protection against the spread of Covid-19 cannot be guaranteed." As an appropriate response to the current threat and since deportations are no longer possible in the near future, the prisoners demand the immediate release of all persons in detention, equal right to health for all and equal access to the necessary resources. Now."
As already reported, there are long waiting lines before the food distribution. During the mealtime there are 40-50 people in the same room at once. Only some refugees got masks, there were no gloves given out.
On saturday, 04.04.2020, we got the following picture. To offer a 'self-service' of open food goes against all security restrictions in the current situation. The risk of further infections is knowingly accepted by those responsible.
We demand: Equal right to good health for all!
Today it became known that the initial reception camp Traiskirchen was quarantined because of 2 positively tested corona cases. The Traiskirchen centre is the largest accommodation for refugees in Austria and probably currently accommodates around 600 people who have to live together in a very confined space. Now they are not allowed to leave the camp, and the virus will most likely spread even further within the accommodation.
Already a few days ago the "Initiative Against Return Centres" had reported on its website about the absurd events in Lower Austria: Thus the "Return Counselling Centre Schwechat" at Vienna Airport was evacuated to make room for a quarantine accommodation for travellers. The 120 or so affected refugees were then taken to the initial reception camp in Traiskirchen, where, predictably, the first corona infections were confirmed.
So while whole Austria is at a standstill and people are (sensibly) being called upon to practise isolation and social distance, a few days ago the authorities were still working on filling an already overcrowded camp with dozens more people.
The responsible authorities have thus recklessly created a concrete dangerous situation for hundreds of people, including of course people from so-called risk groups.
We want to know:
Who is responsible for this absurd and reckless crisis policy?
Who will bear responsibility for the infections to be expected in the Traiskirchen initial reception centre?
But it is not only this crisis policy that raises questions. The events surrounding the initial reception centre in Traiskirchen and the Schwechat Return Centre once again show all too clearly that the forced placement of people in collective accommodation has inhuman and dangerous consequences.
Return centres, all refugee camps and detention centres for deportees are a massive threat to the health of the inhabitants in the current situation and must be closed!
The right to unharmed health must apply equally to all people, regardless of their citizenship or class status!
In order to avoid further endangerment, decentralized housing must be made available to the refugees, in which it is possible to protect their own health or, in case of an infection, to go through a domestic quarantine under humane conditions that are not dangerous to others or to themselves.
It is to be feared that those affected will not only be confronted with the corona virus, but can now also expect a wave of racist hatred and discrimination. But all this only masks the fact that a combination of reckless crisis management and racist camp politics is responsible for the current situation. The refugees are now being punished for grossly negligent accomodation by the state.
We therefore demand:
- the media to look at the systemic origins of this escalation, instead of promoting racist discrimination
- from the government
◦ to evacuate all people from camps and allow them to stay safely in private homes
◦ to enable domestic quarantine in apartments also for the people in Traiskirchen
◦ extensive testing of the residents inside the facility in Traiskirchen to ease the situation
- the equal right to good health for all and equal access to the resources needed for this purpose
You can find the corresponding OTS press release here:
A picture of Traiskirchen that was sent to us by people living there on 20.03.2020
Return centres, refugee camps and detention centres for deportees are a massive threat for the health of the inhabitants in the current situation and must be closed!
Current events at the Schwechat Return Centre (Rückkehrzentrum Schwechat) at Vienna Airport show how corona containment works on the basis of excluded groups and is being reduced to absurdity: Although the inhumane container return camp in the cargo area has been cleared, the residents report that they have now been accommodated in Traiskirchen in dormitories with many more people.
It is absolutely absurd to prohibit crowds of people in public space and to demand social distancing (as useful as these measures may be) on the one hand, and on the other hand to continue forcing refugees to live in overcrowded camps. In case of one infected person, this exposes all others to the risk of infection and aggravates the already precarious and isolated situation of people in these camps . In Salzburg, for example, the first camp as a whole had to be quarantined.
In order to avoid further danger, the refugees must be provided with decentralised apartments in which it is possible to protect their own health or, in the event of an infection, to go through a domestic quarantine under humane conditions that do not endanger others or themselves. Those refugees who are accommodated in the return centres were mostly torn out of functioning social structures in order to put them under psychological pressure and to extort a supposedly "voluntary return". In the current situation, the policy of camp accommodation is once again proving to be inhumane and must be ended immediately! The same applies to the detention centres. As in the German federal state of Lower Saxony, all detainees must be released to freedom, but without tickets for "voluntary" return and with cancellation of the arrest warrant!