Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

Österreichisches Kuratorium für Flüchtlingshilfe / Austrian Curatorship for Refugee Aid (Austria)

The Minister of the Interior, Erwin Lanc, founded the Austrian Curatorship for Refugee aid in 1980. The organization was begun with the recognition that if the most famous, most qualified portion of society ignores them, humane refugee politics will not be maintained on the long run.

The organization began with a broad focus, so that as many Austrian institutions as possible could recognize the human rights issues and respond accordingly with support and collaboration. Since the founding of the organization, the principle members of the Curatorship have been Austrian social partners. Among others, the Austrian Federation of Trade Unions, the Federal Chamber of the Commercial Economy, the Austrian Workers’ Chamber, the Austrian Industrial Association, members of the Austrian Red Cross, the Austrian Caritas and the Social Service were included. International organizations such as Amnesty International and the Intergovernmental Committee for Migration were also important actors.

The primary concern of the Curatorship is working with the public and raising awareness, so that a better political climate will be created for refugees in Austria. In the spirit of this sentiment, the Day of Refugees was created in 1985. The intention of this was to present the refugee question to the public as possible. By presenting objective information, as well as a clarification of the prejudices that refugees often face, a better understanding was created. The Curatorship also provides active help for refugees. They focus their aid on refugees who want to stay in Austria and be integrated into society. In the eighties the Curatorship also began to offer language and employment classes, which eased the integration of refugees substantially. The Curatorship wants to look into the acceptance of refugees not only as an act of humanity, but also as an act of responsibility of a fortunate society. The Curatorship does not want them to have to ask for asylum elsewhere.

Since the end of the 1980s the work of the Austrian Curatorship for refugees has taken a back seat to the work of government organizations, such as the Austrian Integration Fund.