BERLIN – Austria’s foreign minister is proposing interning migrants on Greek islands.
Migrants sit on the dock after disembarking from the Clipper Hebe, the ship that rescued them, upon arrival at the port of Augusta, on the island of Sicily, Italy, Saturday, June 4, 2016. The Norwegian tanker carrying 221 migrants who survived a shipwreck Friday arrived at the Italian port on the island of Sicily with the body of a migrant who drowned in Friday’s shipwreck of a smuggling boat that sank in the southern Mediterranean Sea. The human trafficking route from North Africa to southern Europe has claimed the lives of over 1,000 migrants in the last two weeks.
In a newspaper interview, Sebastian Kurz says Europe could copy Australia’s model of intercepting migrant boats offshore — either sending them back or keeping them in island camps until their asylum claims have been processed.
Human rights groups have criticized the practice as inhumane and a breach of international law.
Kurz told Austrian newspaper Die Presse in an interview published Sunday that “of course the Australian model can’t be copied one-to-one, but the basic principle can be applied to Europe too.”
He said someone who is on an island such as Lesbos and stands little chance of getting asylum is more likely to return home than someone who already has an apartment in Vienna or Berlin.