Deportation is the practice of expulsion of a person from a country. In Austria, Germany and other European countries, school students and their families are being held in detention centres and deported, in the middle of a global pandemic.
Austria, 28th of January 2021: while thousands of school students are concerned about Covid-19, distance learning, the effects of the lockdown and exams, other students - besides the ongoing crisis, are forced to worry also about other matters: being deported. After being in the Austrian education system for years, having made friends, or even being born here, today, 28th of January, three students and their families have been deported to Georgia and Armenia, and more students and families are held in the detention centres to be deported tomorrow 29th January. Meanwhile, in the rest of Europe, travels are banned for our own safety!
Student councils and activists have raised their voice against the deportations. The classmates of one of the mentioned students - Tina who is now 12 years old, have started a petition that reached over 9000 signatures. We interviewed the representative of GRG 1 Stubenbastei, Vienna, Tina’s School:
‘’We are astounded, and shocked. The news of the deportation reached us on Monday evening. Even though it is difficult to contact the family, as the contact to the world is strongly limited by the police, her father told us that Tina and her sister were born here, and lived here for most of their lives, barely have relatives to Georgia, where they will be deported to, except from their grand-parents. Austria is their home! We can not understand, besides that Tina is an excellent student, why School Students get deported, and deprived of their education - especially during a global pandemic! Even being catched unaware in the beginning, we want to thank everyone for the solidarity and the support. We see it as our duty as Student Council to fight for the Rights of all School Students.‘’ Theo Haas - student representative said.
Our Member Organisation in Austria, the ‘’Aktion kritischer Schüler_innen’’ (AKS) is also on the front line and reacted to this episode:
‘’Yesterday, devastating news striked us from Vienna. Two students were dragged out of their homes and put under arrest with their families to be deported. Without any warning or announcement in advance by the police they will now have to leave Austria, losing their entire social surrounding. On top of that, they will be denied their access to education here. The two students have been living in Austria for the majority of their lifetime. The Austrian government is endangering the lives of the students and their families by their racist policies and arbitrariness. AKS is showing solidarity to the affected families and condemns the actions set by the government. Deportations need to stop, especially for school students & during the lockdown.’’ Nina Mathies - chairwoman of AKS said.
"Although the protest of 160 people, with students, friends, activists, politicians and famous journalists, this morning three school students and their families were deported to Georgia and Armenia. The blockades were violently broken through by the police at 5am in the morning, after four hours of blockade. When the police cars with the students drove by to the airport, a police man maliciously laughed and said: come on, wave - one last time. We find ourselves completely shocked, but we will keep putting pressure on Austrian‘s Politicians and furthermore raise awareness of this injustice. “ Alex - OBESSU Board Member reports.
As OBESSU, we find these events unacceptable and we stand in solidarity with all the school students affected by deportation in Austria and in the rest of Europe. We stand with all National school students unions that are raising their voices and are fighting against injustice in their countries.
However, it is essential to fight deportations at the European Level as well. The ‘’New Pact on Migration and Asylum’’ presented by the European Commission in September 2020, has failed to support these students and their families.
We demand the European Union to respect human rights, not to drag school students out of their school environment, and to fully respect the right to asylum. All young people, all school students have the right to education and to a good life!