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UN to Send Teams to Austria, Italy to Assess Migrant Protection - UNHRC Chief

© REUTERS / Stefanie Loos / Newly arrived migrants wait in front of the State Office for Health and Social Affairs to apply for asylum in Berlin, Germany August 11, 2015
Newly arrived migrants wait in front of the State Office for Health and Social Affairs to apply for asylum in Berlin, Germany August 11, 2015 - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - UN human rights boss Michelle Bachelet has announced that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will send teams to Austria and Italy in order to assess migrant protection.

"Prioritizing the return of migrants from Europe, without ensuring that key international human rights obligations are upheld, cannot be considered a protection response. [The OHCHR] expects to dispatch a team to Austria to assess recent developments in this area. We also intend to send staff to Italy, to assess the reported sharp increase in acts of violence and racism against migrants, persons of African descent and Roma," Bachelet said in a statement.

Migrants are seen in a rubber dinghy as they are rescued by the crew of the Mission Lifeline rescue boat in the central Mediterranean Sea, June 21, 2018 - Sputnik International
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Bachelet went on to voice concern over recent anti-migrant rhetoric in Germany, prompted by two resonant cases of German nationals being killed, allegedly at the hands of migrants.

"The shocking and recent outbreak in Germany of anti-migrant violence, which appears to have been stoked by xenophobic hate speech, is worrying," she said.

Protests in Chemnitz, Germany

Since August 26, several anti-migrant protests have been held in the eastern German city of Chemnitz, where the first murder took place. A new protest is scheduled for Friday.

READ MORE: 'Italy Cannot Host All Migrants Coming as Asylum Seekers to Europe' — Professor

On Sunday, protesters took to the streets of Kothen, the site of the second killing. As right-wing radicals call for the deportation of all illegal migrants, the German government has been slamming the rallies as incitement to violence. Berlin's open-door policy has been largely criticized by a significant part of the population, claiming that the security situation has deteriorated due to the mass influx of migrants.

Men evacuate a rubber boat with the help of the crew of the Topaz Responder ship run by Maltese NGO Moas and the Italian Red Cross during a rescue operation of Migrants and refugees on November 3, 2016, off the Libyan coast in the Mediterranean Sea - Sputnik International
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Both Austrian and Italian authorities have taken a tough stance on migration. Over recent months, Italy has denied several rescue ships carrying illegal migrants access to its ports, while Austria refused to accept illegal migrants from a ship that made port in Sicily in July. In addition, in May the Austrian government unveiled plans to decrease benefits for migrants and refugees who do not speak German in order to curb their inflow, in line with promises made during the election campaign.

Europe has been experiencing a migration crisis since 2015, with migrants and refugees fleeing wars and crises in their home countries in North Africa and the Middle East.

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