Bangladeshis among asylum seekers in Europe

Dhaka, Sep 7 (IANS) There are Bangladesh nationals among the thousands of asylum seekers in Austria, a media report said.

Bangladesh’s embassy in Vienna has confirmed without giving an exact number of the asylum seekers, bdnews24 reported.

“As per international rules we cannot be involved (with the host country) in the matter of our nationals seeking asylum to a country,” Ambassador Mohammed Abu Zafar said on Sunday.

“But from Austrian interpreters in different camps handling the refugees, we have learnt that Bangladeshis are there,” he said.

“This is not new. In the last eight or nine months we again unofficially came to know that every month at least 15 or 20 Bangladeshis seek asylum in Austria.”

Bangladesh opened its mission in Austria only last year and the first resident ambassador, Zafar, presented his credentials in December.

Ambassador Zafar said Bangladeshis were coming to Austria from Turkey and Libya.

“Some of them also come directly from Bangladesh in a difficult journey via Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey and it takes more than a year and a half for them to reach the Austrian border.”

“We just keep an eye. We (Bangladesh mission) have nothing to do under international refugee convention,” Zafar added.

At least 24 Bangladeshis died last month in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast when two rickety boats carrying migrants capsized.

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