Europe

Migrant crisis: Austria chart success for minute of silence

Artwork for Schweigeminute by Raoul Haspel Image copyright Raoul Haspel
Image caption Proceeds from the record will go to a Vienna organisation working with migrants and refugees at Traiskirchen

A minute of silence released by an Austrian artist to protest against the treatment of refugees is topping online music charts.

Schweigeminute, by Raoul Haspel, has been number one on the iTunes and Amazon download charts in Austria.

Haspel says it is a protest against the conditions at Austria's main asylum centre, Traiskirchen, where hundreds of migrants have been sleeping outside.

Amnesty International has denounced the conditions at the camp as "inhumane".

Last week the human rights group said about 1,500 people were sleeping in the open air, describing the centre as insanitary and lacking in medical care.

Austria's interior ministry said it was working to try to improve the situation at the camp.

'Horrible'

The minute of silence, which is so far only available on pre-order for €0.99 (£0.63), is also catching on in Germany and Switzerland.

Speaking to the BBC, Raoul Haspel, said he wanted to give people a platform to protest Austrian and European policies on asylum seekers and refugees.

Image caption Vienna artist Raoul Haspel told the BBC he wanted to give people a way to protest

He said conditions at Austria's main asylum processing centre at Traiskirchen, near Vienna, were "horrible".

The proceeds from the recording will go to a local Vienna initiative, which works providing aid to migrants and refugees at Traiskirchen.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Hundreds of migrants have been sleeping outside at the Traiskirchen camp for weeks

Government officials say every week about 1,600 people request asylum in Austria, the BBC's Bethany Bell reports from Vienna.

They expect 80,000 claims by the end of this year.

The EU's statistics agency Eurostat says Austria received more than 28,000 asylum applications in 2014. In the first three months of 2015, it had received more than 10,000.

Syrians, Kosovans and Afghans were the three biggest groups claiming asylum in Austria in early 2015, the agency says.

More on this story