Place of detention

Austria

Country Report: Place of detention Last updated: 08/04/21

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Asylkoordination Österreich Visit Website

Statistics on the number of detainees in 2019 were not available at the time of writing. The detention centres operating in 2020 were as follows:

Total number of detainees in the main detention centres: 2020
Centre Detainees
Vordernberg Immigration Detention Centre 1,077
Vienna Roßauer Lände 1,157
Vienna Hernalser Gürtel 2,637
Zinnergasse 4

Source: Ministry of Interior, Answer to a parliamentary request, 4901/AB XXVII. GP, 12 March 2021, available in German at: https://bit.ly/2P4ioeu.

Furthermore, other police facilities (PAZ) that have previously been used as detention places are now used for arrest for a period not exceeding 7 days. Following table provides an overview of their activities, although the numbers are often overestimated as the same person might have been detained in different PAZ facilities.

 Number of arrested persons in the different police facilities (PAZ)
Centre Total
PAZ Bludenz 100
PAZ Eisenstadt 29
PAZ Graz 170
PAZ Innsbruck 377
PAZ Klagenfurt 180
PAZ Linz 91
PAZ Salzburg 551
PAZ St. Pölten 30
PAZ Villach 173
PAZ Wels 227

Source: Ministry of Interior, Answer to a parliamentary request, 4901/AB XXVII. GP, 12 March 2021, available in German at: https://bit.ly/2P4ioeu.

The detention centre in Vordernberg, established in January 2014, allows detainees to stay outside their cell during the day. The facility is run by a private security company called G4S. Concerns about the division of tasks and accountability between the public security service and this private company have been raised.[1] The Minister of Interior explained in response to a parliamentary request that G4S’s task is to assist the police.[2] According to a report of “Der Standard”’, a series of trainings, including 36 hours dedicated to human rights, have been organised for the staff of the centre.[3]

Back in 2015, the Federal Government had planned to set up a “competence centre” of 250 detention places in Vordenberg with the aim to improve and ensure efficiency of aliens police measures, especially deportation. This plan was abandoned, however, due to high costs, the bad location of the centre and the low occupancy rate, as confirmed by a 2016 report of the Court of Auditors. The latter had thus recommended a new approach to the detention system.[4]

Women or unaccompanied children aged more than 14 years old are detained in separate cells in practice. Moreover, some detention centres are particularly adapted to vulnerable persons. This is the case of the detention centres in Vienna, Roßauer Lände, which has a playground within the building. Similarly, the detention centre in Vienna Zinnergasse is equipped for families with children and unaccompanied children. There are further twelve family apartments in which families are detained for a maximum of 48 hours after having been informed of their deportation date. Moreover, one floor of the same building is used for less coercive measures and has 17 housing units, one of which is adapted to disabled persons. Detainees are allowed to leave the centre during the day.[5]

Airport (de facto) detention facility

At the Vienna Schwechat Airport, the initial reception centre is under the responsibility of the border police. Caritas Vienna had a contract to provide care for asylum seekers waiting for transfer to Traiskirchen or for the final decision on their application. The contract was not prolonged in 2017 and ORS, the company contracted by the Ministry of Interior to provide care to asylum seekers, provided care at the airport up until December 2020.[6] Since December 2020, the Federal Agency BBU GmbH is in charge of providing basic care at the airport. The capacity of the airport facility is 28 persons. During the first months of the pandemic in 2020, no persons were held at the facility as a result o the decrease of arrivals. However, the number of persons held slightly increased in and reached an average occupation of 25 persons as of November 2020.[7] In total, 97 persons were accommodated in the facility in 2020.[8]

 

 

[1] Der Standard, Securitys auf Rundgang in der neuen Schubhaft, 2 April 2014, available at: http://bit.ly/1dgpJ1Y.

[2] In her answer to the parliamentary request 11/AB XXV. GP from 30 December 2013, Minister Mikl-Leitner described the tasks of G4S as follows: “Verwaltungshelfer, die keine hoheitlichen Handlungsbefugnisse haben, sondern nur unterstützend für die Behörde tätig werden. Es liegt zwar eine Aufgaben-, jedoch keine Verantwortungsteilung vor. Die Bediensteten haben daher die im Rahmen der Schubhaft erforderlichen technisch-humanitären Hilfsdienste in Unterordnung und nach Weisung der Behörde und der dieser beigegebenen Organe des öffentlichen Sicherheitsdienstes zu erledigen.“ (“Administration assistants do not have powers of a public authority but have a supporting role for the authority. Tasks are shared, but not responsibility. Therefore the employees have to supply in the context of detention the necessary technical-humanitarian help in subordination to the authority and under the instruction of the public security authorities.”)

[3] Der Standard, Securitys auf Rundgang in der neuen Schubhaft (Security on tour in the new detention centre), 2 April 2014, available at: http://bit.ly/1dgpJ1Y.

[4]Court of Auditors, Vollzug der Schubhaft mit Schwerpunkt Anhaltezentrum Vordernberg, 2016/22, available at: http://bit.ly/2kNGiKi.

[5] Sonja Jell, ‘Alternative zur Schubhaft’, Öffentliche Sicherheit 5-6/12, available at: http://bit.ly/2klLKVq.

[6] Der Standard, ‘Aus für Caritas-Flüchtlingsbetreuung am Flughafen’, 13 January 2017, available in German at: http://bit.ly/2kmxmsn.

[7] Ministry of Interior, Answer to parliamentary request, 4244/AB, XXVII. GP., 18 January 2021, available in German at: https://bit.ly/3uO5npL.

[8]  Ministry of Interior, Answer to a parliamentary request, 4901/AB XXVII. GP, 12 March 2021, available in German at: https://bit.ly/2P4ioeu

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation