As a further development step, a residential community for eight unaccompanied minor refugees was also set up within the framework of this house - as a reaction to a problem that has become increasingly apparent, especially in recent years, as more and more children and young people have to flee the crisis regions of this world without their families.

"The reasons why they leave their homeland are manifold. After the painful separation from their family, many of these children are forced to take on dangerous escape routes, many becoming victims of human traffickers in the process," emphasizes Executive Director Sarah Kotopulos.

Karen Otieno was one of those unaccompanied refugee minors. In 2009, the 17-year-old, who was pregnant at the time, fled her home country of Kenya to Austria completely on her own. The young mother and her child have now been in Austria for over 6 years. Fled a forced marriage by her own father and the threat of genital mutilation, she is now waiting for an outcome to her asylum case. "The uncertainty and being forced to do nothing and wait for years sometimes pushes you to your limits," Karen describes her situation as an asylum seeker. Her wishes for the future are simply to have a safe and secure environment for herself and her child, and to be able to start training as a nurse.

 

f.l.t.r. Gunther Trübswasser, Sarah Kotopulos, Karen Otieno, Gerhard Haderer, Sarmad Al Delemy

From left to right: Gunther Trübswasser, Chairman of SOS Menschenrechte; Sarah Kotopulos, Managing Director of SOS Menschenrechte; Karen Otieno, asylum seeker from Kenya; Herhard Haderer, cartoonist; Sarmad Al Delemy, asylum seeker from Iraq   

 

 

The refugee residence Rudolfstraße 64

In addition to providing care for refugees, the house in Linz-Urfahr is also the base station for the two longstanding successful projects "AMIGO" and "Stand up! The project "AMIGO" was founded to accompany refugees and immigrants in their integration into Austrian society and to offer Austrians the opportunity to support strangers in Austria as "Buddies" on a voluntary basis.

The project "Stand up! Human Rights in Practice" is an educational program whose primary goal is to actively sensitize people in Austria to the issues of democracy and civil courage and to promote intercultural exchange.

The house, which was built about 70 years ago and also housed the first women's shelter in Linz, is in serious need of renovation. Electrical installations and the heating system are top priorities for the association. For these reasons, the association's board has long and intensively been concerned with the financing of the renovation and the search for additional quarters.

Several hundred thousand euros will be needed over the next few months to renovate the building, but every small amount is also welcome as part of the fundraising campaign "Roof over your head" is very welcome.

For the reasons mentioned above, SOS Human Rights is launching the fundraising campaign "Roof over your head" starting today, in which we are actively supported by many volunteers, artists, friends and also by Reichl und Partner Public Relations.

In the coming months there will be numerous actions, auctions, solidarity and benefit events, which we will inform about in our mailings and on our homepage www.sos.at inform.

Donations to SOS Human Rights are tax deductible since March 2015!

 

Donation account: SOS Human Rights, Hypobank Upper Austria

IBAN: AT20 5400 0000 0037 1328 / BIC: OBLAAT2L

 

SOS Human Rights appeals: "Do not campaign on the backs of refugees!"

SOS Human Rights worries, in view of the upcoming "hot" phase of the election campaign for the state elections, that the intolerable choice of words, the hostile mood and even open diatribes against refugees will continue to intensify. "We therefore appeal to all parties not to violate the rights and dignity of people who have asked us for protection from persecution and war, even in the election campaign - no matter how hard and committed it may be," said Gunther Trübswasser.

 

Sarmad Al Delemy, a resident of the SOS Human Rights refugee shelter, fled Iraq a year ago because his life was in danger. The 29-year-old biological anthropologist is a member of an oppressed ethnic group in Iraq. After a demonstration in front of the university against the arbitrary killing of people and systematic oppression of his ethnic group, he could not return home from one day to the next. "I have been waiting for my first interview about my reasons for fleeing in the asylum procedure for a whole year now," says Sarmad Al Delemy, describing his unbearable waiting loop in the asylum procedure.

 

Gerhard Haderer on this unbearable situation of the refugees:

" We swim here in abundance while people fleeing war and misery drown in the Mediterranean.

Let's finally start changing this absurd world order, because if we really want to, we can do it."

 

Inquiries to:

Sarah Kotopulos, Executive Director SOS Human Rights
Tel.: 0732 777404
Email: kotopulos@sos.at

 

More information at: www.sos.at
Photos of the press conference, as well as the logo of the campaign "Roof over your head" can be downloaded from the press service on our homepage at: https://www.sos.at/index.php?id=96