Following the deadly stabbing at a migrant camp in Austria earlier this week, the government has announced a number of security measures, including police and other emergency measures, and mandatory vaccinations for all residents in the migrant camps. The “Auschwitz II” asylum center, which is near the former Nazi concentration camp in Vienna, opened last year, and housed more than 3,000 migrants, most of whom had come from Turkey, the Balkans, and Northern Africa. Although the maximum capacity was reduced to just 500 by the end of 2018, according to Austria’s interior ministry, there are more than 1,500 people still living there. According to the U.N. refugee agency, the camp lacks sufficient lighting, security, and sanitation facilities.
On Thursday night, a 24-year-old woman was stabbed repeatedly in the throat and chest at the camp by a resident. Shortly after the attack, the residence was placed on lockdown. Also on Thursday, thousands of migrants protested near Vienna, as they continued to call for an end to the shelters in general. “I don’t have any words. I am afraid for the lives of the children,” said German 37-year-old Karina Schuler, who has been waiting for asylum in Austria for five years. “These people can and will act on the street.”
Austria President Sebastian Kurz has announced that those people that are interested in coming to Europe must travel to Austria, and apply for asylum. Austria also plans to increase police patrols in various areas of the city. On Friday, the government announced plans to close a large underground passage connecting two migrant camps. It is not clear at this time whether the plan will expand to include the other camps in Vienna.
Nordic countries, along with others, are currently embroiled in a battle over who will take in the many fleeing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. Initially, Central European countries, which are faced with their own difficult migration and refugee problems, have been resistant to the United States becoming a permanent solution for the crisis. According to the Daily Mail, when Germany decided to suspend all migrants entering Europe through Greece last October, many believed that Austria would follow suit. This week, however, immigration authorities in Austria gave an order to close the two transit paths that go from Greece to Austria. A spokeswoman for the German authorities in charge of managing the crisis, said that the closure of the passage was not a decision taken unilaterally by the Italian government, but that Austria’s government had decided it was the best thing to do.