Austria failed to introduce the crime of torture into domestic legislation. Children were at higher risk of detention pending deportation.
In January, Austria’s human rights record was assessed under the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The government accepted 131 of the 161 recommendations received and committed to implement them in consultation with civil society.Top of page
In November, following consultations with civil society, Austria adopted a law establishing a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) within the Ombudsman’s Board, as required under the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture. There were concerns among civil society organizations about the full independence of the NPM.
Amendments to the Security Police Law allowing police surveillance of individuals without judicial control were pending adoption at the end of the year.Top of page
Austria failed to introduce the crime of torture into its criminal code despite repeated recommendations by the UN Committee against Torture.
In June, the Vienna Regional Criminal Court sentenced three individuals respectively to life, 19 and 16 years’ imprisonment for the killing of Chechen refugee Umar Israilov on 13 January 2009. In March, the Independent Administrative Tribunal in Vienna rejected a complaint alleging that the police had failed to provide the victim with protection. Complaints against this decision were pending before the Constitutional Court and the Administrative Court.Top of page
Reports of racially motivated police misconduct towards foreign nationals and ethnic minorities continued. Structural shortcomings within the criminal justice system when responding to discrimination, including the lack of a comprehensive data collection system that would make it possible to record and evaluate these incidents, were not addressed.Top of page
Although the government did not officially suspend transfers of asylum-seekers to Greece under the Dublin II Regulation, no such transfers took place following the verdict of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece (see Belgium and Greece entries).
In July, an amendment to the Austrian Aliens Law came into force that placed foreign children aged 16 to 18 at higher risk of detention pending deportation.