Comparative law and justice/Austria

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Edhunt20 22:46, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Flag of Austria
Map of Austria
Austria's Location in Central Europe

Basic Information[edit]

The Republic of Austria is located in Central Europe, north of Italy and Slovenia and south of Germany and The Czech Republic. [1] Its geographic coordinates are 42 20 N, 13 20 E. [2] Austria borders The Czech Republic (362 km), Germany (784 km), Liechtenstein (35 km), Slovakia (91 km), Slovenia (330 km), Italy (430 km), Hungary (366 km), and Switzerland (164 km). [3] The size of Austria is 83,871 sq km. [4] 82,445 sq km of that area is land and 1,426 sq km is water. [5] The country is landlocked and slightly smaller than the state of Maine. [6] Austria has a temperate climate, with cold winters and moderate summers. [7] Winter in Austria is comprised of frequent rain. [8] There is snow in the mountains and some snow in the lowlands. [9] During the summer there are occasional showers. [10] The western and southern parts of Austria are mostly mountains. [11] The eastern and northern parts of the country are mostly flat or gently sloping. [12] Austria's lowest point is Neusiedler See (115 m) and its highest point is Grossglockner (3798 m). [13] Austria's natural resources are oil, hydropower, copper, coal, lignite, timber, zinc, iron ore, antimony, salt, graphite, magnesite, and tungsten. [14] The country also has natural hazards such as landslides, earthquakes, and avalanches. [15] The major river in Austria is the Danube. [16] Austria's population as of July 2010 is 8,214,160. [17] There are 609,748 males and 581,144 females between the ages of 0 and 14. [18] This age group comprises 14.5% of the population. [19] There are 2,785,091 males and 2,756,402 females between the ages of 15 and 64. [20] This age group comprises 67.5% of the population. [21] There are 612,613 males and 865,283 females 65 years old and older. [22] This comprises 18% of the population. [23] As of the 2001 census, 91.1% of Austria's population is comprised of Austrians.[24] 4% of the population is former Yugoslavs, which includes Croatians, Slovenes, Serbs and Bosniaks.[25] 1.6% of the population is Turks.[26] .9% of the population is German.[27] The remaining 2.4% is other or unspecified.[28] Also, according to the 2001 census, German is spoken nationwide by 88.6% of the population and is considered the official language. [29] 2.3% of the population speak Turkish. [30] 2.2% speak Serbian. [31] 5.3% of the population speak other languages which include Slovene, which is an official language of Carinthia, and Hungarian, which is an official language of Burgenland. [32] 1.6% of the population speak Croation with is also an official language of Burgenland.[33] As of the 2001 census, the major religion in Austria is Roman Catholic which is practiced by 73.6% of the population.[34] 4.7% of the population is Protestant.[35] 4.2% is Muslim. [36] 3.5% is listed as other. [37] 2% is unspecified.[38] 12% of the population is listed as not being affiliated with any religion. [39] Austria is a federal republic and the nation's capital is Vienna. [40]

Brief History[edit]

In as early as the 4th century BC, Austria had Celtic people living across it. [41] Romans conquered the region sometime in the 1st century BC. [42] They built towns and roads bringing the Roman way of life to the area. [43] By the 4th century AD Austria was overrun by tribesmen. [44] Charlemagne, The King of the Franks, eventually conquered the area and made it part of his empire.[45] Austria prospered during this era. [46] When Charlemagne died his empire was split up three different ways. [47] Austria went to Louis the German. [48] Magyars, which became the ancestors of modern Hungarians, began raiding Austria in the 10th century. [49] They were defeated by the German King Otto I. [50] The Germans regained control of the area in 955 AD. [51] The Holy Roman Emperor made Austria a Duchy and its ruler a Duke in 1156 AD. [52] During this era Austria prospered once again. [53] In 1246 the Bohemian King Ottobar was elected Duke. [54] Rudolf von Hapsburg became the Holy Roman Emperor in 1273. [55] Hapsburg defeated the Bohemian King. [56] In 1282 Hapsburg made his son Albert the Duke of Austria. [57] The Hapsburgs ruled for centuries and built a powerful empire in central Europe. [58] Rudolph IV became the Duke of Austria in 1358. [59] He was known as The Founder. [60] Rudolph IV founded Vienna University. [61] Albert II, Duke of Austria, became the king of Bohemia and Hungary in 1437. [62] He then became the Holy Roman Emperor in 1438 and Austria became a dominant power. [63] The Turks laid siege to Vienna in 1529, but were not able to capture it. [64] The Austrian Empire prospered throughout the 16th century. [65] Most of the population did not benefit from all the prosperity and remained peasants. [66] The Reformation affected the Austrian Empire and many people converted to Protestantism. [67] The Catholic Counter-reformation, Jesuit preaching, and the fact that Rudolf II persecuted Protestants helped win some of the converts back. [68] From 1618-1648 Austria was involved in the Thirty Year War. [69] Much of the lands were devastated. [70] The Turks once again laid siege to Vienna in 1683, but the Germans and Poles came to the rescue. [71] Austria had several long wars during the 18th century. [72] Part of Italy and Sardinia were added to the Austrian Empire during the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714). [73] Emperor Charles VI did not have a male heir, but he was able to make his daughter the next ruler. [74] Maria Theresa took over the empire in 1740. [75] Prussia started the War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748) when they took Silesia. [76] Austria had to fight the Prussians, Spanish and French during this war. [77] Maria Theresa married Francis of Loraine and he became Emperor in 1748. [78] When Francis I died in 1765, Maria Theresa ruled the empire with her son Joseph II. [79] Austria and France fought a series of wars from 1792 through 1815. [80] Napoleon broke up the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. [81] The Holy Roman Emperor, Franz I, became the Emperor of Austria. [82] Napoleon was defeated in 1815. [83] The Foreign Minister, Klemens Metternich, introduced a repressive regime that was opposed to liberal ideas. [84] Austria was still able to prosper and by the middle of the century there was even some industrialization beginning to pop up in some areas of the country. [85] Nationalism was growing in the Austrian Empire during this era. [86] Revolutions swept across Europe in 1848. [87] Metternich resigned and a new Emperor, Franz Joseph, restored absolute rule and order returned to Austria. [88] In 1859 Austria was defeated by France and in 1866 Austria was defeated by Prussia. [89] Austria was no longer the dominant power in Central Europe. [90] Austria split in to two parts in 1867. [91] Both parts were ruled by the same Emperor. [92] Austria was on one side and Hungary was on the other side. [93] It became the Austro-Hungarian Empire. [94] Industry in Vienna grew rapidly in the late 1800’s and railways were built across the empire. [95] Ethnic groups in the Empire wanted independence. [96] The heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Ferdinand, was assassinated leading to World War I. [97] In October of 1918 various races declared independence breaking up the Austro-Hungarian Empire. [98] The Emperor resigned his position and on November 12th that same year the Republic of Austria was declared. [99] Austria began to recover from the war in the 1920’s. [100] Like the rest of the world, Austria was hit with the Great Depression during the early 1930’s. [101] The Nazis attempted to seize power of Austria in 1934. [102] The Nazis shot the chancellor, Engelbert Dolfuss, but Austrian troops were able to defeat the Nazis. [103] Hitler forced the Austrian government to put Nazi party members in important positions in 1938. [104] By March of 1938 German troops occupied Austria. [105] During World War II, many Austrian soldiers were killed and the country was bombed by allied forces. [106] In 1945 the country suffered even more by the Russian Invasion. [107] The allies decided to restore Austria to an independent nation after the war. [108] Austria was divided into four zones by the allies in April 1945. [109] The zones were United States, France, Britain, and Russia. [110] They held the first parliamentary elections in November of that same year. [111] Austria became an independent nation once again in 1955 and declared permanent neutrality. [112] In December that same year Austria joined the United Nations. [113] Austria prospered throughout the rest of the 20th century and in 1995 joined the European Union. [114]

Economic Development, Health, and Education[edit]

The literacy rate of Austria is very high.[115] 98% of the population is literate. [116] All Austrians, males and females, 15 years old and older can read and write.[117] The school life expectency is 15 years for both males and females. [118] That includes their primary to tertiary education. [119] Public education, including higher education, is free in Austria. [120] 9 years of education is mandatory. [121] The University of Vienna, which was established in 1365, is Austria's oldest University. [122]

The life expentency at birth for Austrians is 79.65 years.[123] The male life expectency is 76.74 years.[124] The female life expectency is 82.71 years. [125] The total infant mortality rate is 4.37 deaths for every 1000 live births. [126] The male infant mortality rate is 5.31 deaths for every 1000 live births.[127] The female infant mortality rate is 3.38 deaths for every 1000 live births. [128]

Austria's GDP (purchasing power parity)as of 2010 est. is $332.9 billion. [129] The GDP official exchange rate is 366.3 billion as of 2010 est. [130] The GDP real growth rate is 2% as of 2010 est. [131] The GDP per capita is $40,300 as of 2010 est. [132] Austria has a labor force of 3.63 million workers. [133] 5.5% of the labor force work in agriculture, 27.5% work in industry, and 67% work in services.[134] The country's unemployement rate is 4.6% as of 2010 est. [135]

Austrian agriculture produces grains, potatoes, suger beets, wine, and fruit. It also produces dairy products, cattle, pigs, poultry, and lumber. [136] Austrian industries are construction, machinery, vehicles and parts, food, metals, chemicals, lumber and wood processing, paper and paperboard, communications equipment, and tourism.[137] Austria exports electricity, oil, natural gas, machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, paper and paperboard, metal goods, chemicals, iron, steel, textiles, and foodstuffs. [138] It imports electricity, oil and oil products, natural gas, machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, metal goods, and foodstuffs.[139] Austria's export partners as of 2009 are Germany (30.96%), Italy (8.17%), Switzerland (4.99%) and the United States (3.99%). [140]

Governance[edit]

Austria is a democratic republic. It has had a Federal Constitution since 1920. [141] The constitution was amended in 1929 in order to give the president more power. [142] The Federal President is the head of state and is elected by the people. [143] The president has limited authority over the government. [144] The Chancellor, or Prime Minister, is the head of the government and chairman of the cabinet. [145] The Chancellor is usually the leader of the party with the most seats in the National Council. .[146] The National Council is the lower half of Austria’s bicameral parliament. [147] The Chancellor and his/her cabinet have the most executive powers and they write the majority of legislation, but can only govern with the National Council’s approval. .[148] The Federal Council is the upper chamber of parliament. [149] The Federal Council represents the interests of Austria’s nine provinces. [150]

Elections[edit]

Austria’s electoral system was outlined in the country’s constitution of 1920. The system is based on proportional representation. There were major changes to it in 1970 and 1992. [151] Reuters simplified the decription of this system with the following statement in 2008, “Austria is divided into 9 constituencies that match the federal states, which in turn are subdivided into 43 electoral regions. To secure a place in parliament, a party needs either to win four percent of the votes across the country, or a set share in one of the 43 electoral constituencies (20-25 percent depending on the region). The 183 seat Austrian parliament, the National Council, is elected every five years by direct popular vote in a system of proportional representation. Voters choose a political party but can at the same time give one candidate of the party a preferential vote and influence their ranking on the list. About 6.1 million Austrians are eligible to vote out of a population of around 8.4 million. The minimum age to vote is 16.”[152]

Under article 60 of the Austrian constitution, a candidate for president must have reached their 35th birthday. [153] They must be able to vote in National Council elections and not be a member of one of the reigning houses, or from a family who has formally ruled. [154] To become president they must receive more than half of the popular votes. [155] If there is not a candidate who receives more than half of the votes then there is a second ballot with the two candidates who had the highest number of votes.[156] When the president is elected it is for term of six years and they are only allowed to serve two terms. [157] The Chancellor is appointed by the president and based on the Chancellor's recomendations the president also appoints people to the various cabinet positions.[158] The cabinet members do not have to be members of the National Council, but they have to be eligiable to be elected to it. [159]

Judicial Review[edit]

The Constitution Court of Austria is primarily the court in charge of judicial review.[160] The court handles whether or not a law is constitutionally legal, or if any rulings by the administration are in violation of the constitution.[161] The court handles many other violations of the constitution as well. [162] The court gains its authority from Austria’s Federal Constitution in Articles 137 through 148. [163]

Courts and Criminal Law[edit]

The Austrian Fundamental Principles of the Criminal Procedure according to the Hauser Global Law School Program are as follows:

"The charge principle: every criminal procedure will be triggered and defined by the claims of a prosecutor. The prosecutors can be the public prosecutor (State Prosecutor), the subsidiary prosecutor or the private prosecutor. The legality principle: it is the duty of the State Prosecutor (subject to exceptions) to prosecute the offences of which he becomes aware whilst in office. The speech principle (the reading of statements from the preliminary proceedings by the examining magistrate or the police is only possible in limited circumstances.) The public principle (the public should only be excluded from a hearing on important grounds) The procedure must be carried out in front of a legally appointed judge. Participation of the public in the criminal justice (jury and juror). Establishment of the truth principle (the court must do everything in its power to clarify the state of affairs and should not limit itself to the examination of the claims from the state prosecutor and the defense). Independent Judgment Principle (the judge forms his opinion independently without outside interference)" [164]

The Austrian Court System has two principal jurisdictions.[165] The first are the courts of ordinary jurisdiction and the second are the courts and tribunals that deal with public law issues. [166] All jurisdictions stem from the Federal Republic. [167] The courts of ordinary jurisdiction deal with matters of private law, aspects of competition law, and criminal law. [168] Courts of the first instance cases are either under the jurisdiction of a District Court or a Regional Court. [169] It depends on the type of criminal case, or the amount claimed in a civil case. [170] Whether it is a criminal or civil case determines whether the case will be heard by a single judge, two professional and two lay judges, or three professional judges and a jury of eight people. [171] The courts of second instance handle appeals. [172] If a criminal matter is appealed it goes directly in front of a Province Court. [173] Civil matters that first were heard in a District Court must be appealed to a Regional court. [174] If the civil matter was first heard at a Regional Court it must be appealed to the Province Court. [175]

The Supreme Court is the highest court in Austria for civil and criminal cases.[176] Only cases of the last instance will be heard by the Supreme Court. [177] There are six senates for criminal cases. [178] Civil cases have ten senates. [179] There are also two additional senates for social and labor cases.[180]

Punishment[edit]

According to the World Fact Book, as of 2007 Austria had a prison population of approximately 8,766. For every 100,000 Austrians, 105 are incarcerated. [181] Austria outlawed the death penalty for ordinary crimes in 1950 and for all crimes in 1968. [182] Corporal Punishment is against the law in Austria. [183] It is against the law in all settings.[184] This includes schools and the home. [185] By 1867, corporal punishment, was abolished as a sentence for crime. [186] It is also against the law to use corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure in penal institutions and alternative care settings.[187]

As of 2004, Austrian prison conditions, according to the U.S. Department of State website, were as follows: "Prison conditions generally met international standards. The Government held male and female prisoners, adults and juveniles, and pretrial detainees and convicted criminals separately. The Government permitted independent human rights observers to conduct prison visits. Some human rights observers criticized the fact that nonviolent offenders, such as persons awaiting deportation, were incarcerated for long periods in single cells in inadequate facilities designed for temporary detention. Some observers argued that the Government should hold prisoners in more open facilities." [188]

Austrian prisons such as the one mentioned in the New York Times article Behind Bars…..Sort Of might be a good way to display the Austrian philosophy of rehabilitation and how good the conditions are in some of the Austrian prisons. Of course the prison outside of Leoban, described in the above article, is an extreme example. Inmates there live comfortably with their fellow inmates. [189] They cook, use metal utensils, have private lavatories, floor to ceiling windows, and wear their own cloths. [190] The inmates serving sentences there have maximum freedom within the walls of the prison according to the prison’s architect.[191] He further goes on to explain that,” the more normal life you give them here, the less necessary it is to re-socialize them when they leave.” [192]

Legal Personnel[edit]

To become a judge in Austria you must first graduate with a Law degree. [193] It takes approximately five years. [194] Then you would have complete practical training. [195] This practical training called “court practice” takes place in courts, lawyer offices, or notary offices. [196] The initial training is the same whether you are becoming a judge or prosecutor. [197] To continue on and become a judge, a candidate must apply for the Judge Preparation Service. [198] Next, the candidate has to be appointed as a Judge Office Candidate. [199] The President of the Court of Appeal makes the proposals to the Federal Ministry of Justice for an appointment. [200] Only a small percentage of candidates are appointed each year. [201] The training for judge office candidates lasts approximately four years. [202] At the end of the training the candidates must take an exam. [203] The exam consists of an oral component and a written component. [204] After the candidate passes the exam he or she can apply for any vacant judge post. [205] Vacant posts are advertised publicly. [206] After the application period closes a judge will be appointed for the position. [207] Public prosecutors must have administered justice for at least one year and are recruited from the body of judges. [208] They are appointed after having been endorsed by the Federal Minister of Justice. [209]

Law Enforcement[edit]

Austria’s police structure is centralized and multiple coordinated. Austria has a Directorate General for Public Security.[210] The Directorate is part of Austria’s Federal Ministry of the Interior and is broken down into four sections. [211] The first section is the Federal Police. [212] The Federal Police is the Austrian Federal Security Guard. [213] It was first a civilian security force that replaced the military police force sometime after 1848.[214] This civilian force eventually developed into The Austrian Federal Security Guard that it is today. [215] The second section is the Supreme Command of the Gendarmerie. [216] The Federal Gendarmerie is under the command of the Directorate General for Public Safety. [217] There are eight Gendarmerie commands. [218] That is one for each province except Vienna. [219] This is an armed uniformed force that is organized based on the military. [220] The third section is the Criminal Investigation Department.[221] The Criminal Investigation Department is responsible for investigated crimes, gathering information, conducting surveillance of suspects, and locating wanted persons. [222] The fourth section is State Security. [223] There are some municipalities that have their own police force. [224] These forces handle local security services.[225] They are limited by Austrian constitutional law. [226] The constitution does not allow for any security forces to set up in areas already covered by federal police authority and federal security guard units. [227] In Austria the police have the power to check identities, make arrests, conduct questioning, conduct searches of both people and premises, and confiscate property. [228] Austria also has a newly formed Austrian Criminal Intelligence Service. [229] The ACIS is the headquarters to the national criminal investigation service and the Austrian National Criminal Bureau of Interpol.[230] The ACIS has a director that reports to the Directorate General for Public Security.[231] ACIS has specialized units that investigate general crime, drug crimes, organized crime, and immigration and human trafficking.[232] There are also units that deal with fugitive recovery, surveillance operations, forensics, and international co-operation. [233] In criminal investigation matters, these units have authority that supersedes any authority of subordinate services. [234]

According to the World Police Encyclopedia, Austria has the following requirements to become a police officer or Gendarmerie: “Austrian citizenship; no criminal record; no administrative record (drunken driving, and so on); nine years of education (minimum education that is compulsory for every Austrian); age eighteen to thirty years, men only after military service; minimum height (men 168 centimeters, women 163 centimeters); “normal” weight (body length minus + 15%); good health (by passing a five-hour medical examination); and by passing the entrance examination (written test in spelling and grammar, and intelligence and personality tests lasting four to five hours).”[235] The World Police Encyclopedia further explains that once you pass the entrance exam you go to basic training which is located at one of the education center of the security executive forces.[236] There is a center located in each of the federal provinces. [237] Basic training lasts 21 months and consists of theoretical education and practical training. [238] Law, psychology, criminology, ethics, tactics, first aid, self defense, shooting, electronic data processing, rhetoric, English and sports are all subjects covered during basic training according to the World Police Encyclopedia. [239] After the officer finishes basic training he/she receives the rank of Inspector and is assigned to a police district as a security guardian, or as a gendarme. [240]

Austria has a Federal Bureau of Anti-Corruption. [241] The BAK is part of the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior. [242] It is not under the control of the Directorate-General for Public Security. [243] The BAK has national jurisdiction and is tasked with the prevention and investigation of corruption. [244]

Crime Rates and Public Opinion[edit]

Austria comes from a civil law tradition. The country has a low crime rate, especially a low violent crime rate, which makes it one of the safest countries in Europe.

The following statistics were recorded by police for the year 2008 and made available on the Eurostat website. Austria’s total number of crimes reported that year were 572,695.[245] Austria only had 46 homicides, which included murder, manslaughter, euthanasia, and infanticide. [246] Attempts were not included and neither were dangerous driving, abortion, or help with suicide. [247] The average homicide rate from 2006 to 2008 was .61 per 100,000 people. The capital of Austria, Vienna, had an average homicide rate of 1.06 per 100,000 people. [248] Austria had 129,613 violent crimes, which included physical assault, robbery, and sexual offenses.[249] Austria recorded 4,786 robberies and 18,648 domestic burglaries.[250] Austria had 9,049 recorded motor vehicle thefts and 1,980 recorded incidents of drug trafficking.[251] There was a prison population of 7,899 in Austria for 2008.[252] From 2006 to 2008 there was an average of 103 people for every 100,000 in prison. [253] The following quote from 1993 was taken from the www.country-data.com website, "Revisions of the criminal code in the mid-1960s, based on ten years of work by a legal commission, give strong emphasis to the principle of government by law and allow unusual latitude in determining appropriate punishment and its implementation. Austria attempts to distinguish among lawbreakers whose crimes are committed on impulse, those who are susceptible to rehabilitation, and those who are addicted to crime and are incorrigible. Further reforms of the criminal code in 1974 emphasized the importance of avoiding jail sentences whenever possible because of the potentially antisocial effects of even a short prison term. Vagrancy, begging, and prostitution are specifically decriminalized. In large communities, prostitution is regulated by health authorities, and prostitutes and brothels are registered. Individual local jurisdictions retain the authority to prohibit prostitution, however. Provisions in the 1974 law modified the punishment for business theft and shoplifting and restricted the definitions of riotous assembly and insurrection." [254]

Rights[edit]

Family Law[edit]

The legal age to get married in Austria is 18. [255] That goes for both males and females. [256] In certain situations the court may authorize the marriage of a 16 year old to an 18 year old. [257] The Registrar’s Office performs civil marriages. [258] Civil marriages are the only legal type of marriage in Austria. [259] Same sex couples in Austria can enter into legal civil unions. [260] These civil unions offer many of the rights that married couples have. [261] Although, it is illegal for these couples to adopt children and be artificially inseminated. [262]

In Austria there are three kinds of divorces that the law recognizes.[263] The first is divorce by mutual consent.[264] The second is divorce on the grounds of a fault.[265] The third is divorce following a separation of three years or more.[266] Either spouse can petition for divorce.[267] Each spouse, after the divorce is granted, gets to keep the surname they had before the marriage.[268] Property is divided in a way both spouses agree on, or equally based on circumstances by the court. [269] Both spouses will have joint custody of their child/children, unless the parents agree on one of them having sole custody. If no decision is made, or if the spouses cannot agree on custody issues, the court will make a decision with the best interest of the child/children in mind. [270] Either spouse may be required to pay maintenance to the other spouse. This will depend on which spouse was predominately responsible for the divorce and what either spouses’ financial situation is. [271]

Adoption of a child is authorized by civil courts. [272] Adoption is considered as long the person adopting is legally competent. [273] If two people want to adopt a child together they must be legally married. [274] Priests, nuns, and monks are restricted from adoption. [275] A person who was appointed guardian of a child’s property can only adopt the child when they have been released from that responsibility. [276] Same sex couples cannot legally adopt a child jointly, but may be allowed to adopt a child individually.[277] Adopting fathers must have completed their 30th year.[278] Adopting mothers must have completed their 28th year. [279] There is not an age requirement if the adopting parents are married. [280] Also there is not an age requirement if a spouse adopts his/her other spouse’s child.[281] In both cases a parent/child relationship has to be established. [282] The adopting spouses must be 18 years older than the child they are adopting. [283] If the child is the biological offspring of the person adopting than a 16 year age difference is allowed. [284] A 16 year age difference is allowed also if the person adopting is related to the child. [285]

Inheritance in Austria is handled by regional civil courts. [286] The court in the district where the decedent had most of his/her property, or his/her last habitual residence has jurisdiction over the property. [287] If the deceased did not have a will than 1/3 of the entire estate will go to the persons spouse and 2/3 will go to the children, or grandchildren. [288] If the deceased did not have children than 2/3 of the estate will go to the spouse and 1/3 to his/her parents, or parent’s children. [289] If there are not any relatives going back to the great grandparents than the estate is transferred to the Republic of Austria.[290] Austrian Civil Code has provisions that protect mandatory heirs regardless of what the will says. [291]

Human Rights and Social Inequality[edit]

The Government of Austria, for the most part, respects the human rights of its citizens. [292] Although, there have been some reports of abuse by the police. [293] These reports were generally for verbal abuse, threats, and harassment. [294] There is the occasional report of police beatings.[295] There is discrimination by the Government and society against certain religious groups.[296] In July 2004 the Equal Treatment Bill took effect.[297] This bill implemented the European Union Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Racism guidelines. [298] The Government took steps to fight the trafficking of women for forced prostitution. [299] There have not been any reports of deprivation of life committed by the Government.[300] There have not been any politically motivated disappearances and the constitution prohibits torture. [301] There were 988 complaints against the federal police in 2003. [302] The complaints ranged from slander to kicking and hitting and some of the violence appeared to be racially motivated. [303] The police are criticized for targeting minorities. [304] Over 2000 police and other officials received sensitivity training. [305] Arbitrary arrest and detention is prohibited by the constitution.[306] There were no reports of police corruption. [307] The right to a fair trial is provided by the constitution. [308] Anyone charged with criminal offenses are innocent until proven guilty. [309] The constitution prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home or correspondence.[310] Freedom of speech and the press is provided by the constitution. [311] There is a strict use of slander laws. [312] There have been criticisms by foreign observers, including the European Court of Human Rights that the strict slander laws used to protect politicians interfere with the freedom of speech and the press.[313] There were not any restrictions of academic freedom by the government. [314] Freedom of peaceful assembly, association, and religion is provided by the constitution.[315] Freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration and repatriation is all provided by the constitution.[316] Forced exile is prohibited by law and not used in practice. [317] Basic knowledge of the German language must be shown by all immigrants in order for them to receive an immigrant visa. [318] The citizens of Austria have the right, provided by the constitution, to change their government in a peaceful manner. [319] Austrian law protects workers from discrimination and provides welfare benefits.[320] A public debate took place in August 2003 to expand the rights of homosexuals. [321] Violence against women is a problem in Austria. [322] Shelters and help-lines are sponsored by the government. [323] Prostitution is legal. [324] Trafficking for purposes of prostitution is illegal and is a problem in Austria.[325] Sexual harassment is prohibited by law and effectively enforced by the Government.[326] 62.8 percent of women ages 15 to 65 were employed as of 2003. [327] They earn approximately 79 percent of what men earn for the same work.[328] Women remain underrepresented in civil service despite the labor laws that provide for equal treatment. [329] The law requires women to be hired over men with the same qualifications to solve this problem. [330] Children’s rights are also protected under the constitution.[331] All children are required to complete 9 years of education starting at age 6.[332] Women and men receive equal education opportunities.[333] They also receive comprehensive medical care. [334] Child abuse is a problem that is monitored by the government and offenders are prosecuted.[335] Abuse and molestation is required to be reported to the police by doctors.[336] Trafficking of children also remains a problem. [337] Human trafficking is prohibited by law.[338] Trafficking for forced prostitution and domestic service is a problem. [339] People with disabilities are protected by law from discrimination in housing, education, and employment. [340] The federal government requires access to all public buildings for people with physical disabilities. [341] Sterilization is authorized for adults with mental disabilities when a pregnancy would be life threatening. [342] Austrian law recognizes six national minority groups. [343] These are Croats, Czechs, Hungarians, Roma, Slovaks, and Slovenes. [344] If any community is comprised of at least 25 percent of any of these minority groups they are entitled to bilingual town signs, education, media, and access to federal funds earmarked for national minorities.[345] Turks did not receive the same type of assistance because they are not considered indigenous.[346] Africans experienced verbal abuse and public harassment according to NGOs. [347] Workers have the right, provided by the constitution, to join and form unions. [348] The constitution also provides workers with the right to organize and bargain collectively. [349] The minimum working age is 15. [350] Collective bargaining agreements decide what each industry’s minimum wage will be. [351] The unofficial annual minimum wage as of 2003 is between 10000 and 11000 euros. [352] There is not a national minimum wage. [353] Working hours are 8 hours per day and up to 40 hours per week. [354] This is regulated by the Act on Working hours. [355] The workday can be extended to 10 hours, but the work week must not extend past 40 hours. Anything over the 40 hours is overtime. The law allows up to 5 hours a week for overtime and up to 60 hours per year. [356] Overtime pay is 150 percent of the regular hourly wages. [357] The same regulations apply to foreign workers. [358]

Works Cited[edit]

  1. Central Intelligence Agency. 2011. The World Factbook. "Austria". Retrieved February 10, 2011 (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/au.html)
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