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U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2003 - Slovenia

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 1 June 2003
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2003 - Slovenia , 1 June 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3eddc49a10.html [accessed 3 December 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

At the end of 2002, Slovenia hosted approximately 380 refugees and asylum seekers. These included about 200 pending asylum cases with the largest number from Yugoslavia (almost 60), around 177 Bosnians with temporary protection, 2 with humanitarian asylum and only 1 granted asylum.

During the year, 640 asylum seekers submitted applications in Slovenia, a dramatic decrease from the 1,500 claims filed in 2001. The largest number of asylum seekers came from Iraq (132), followed by Yugoslavia (91), and Turkey (73).

The Slovenian authorities adjudicated more than 108 asylum applications, but granted asylum in only 1 case, to a Liberian. Slovenia also granted humanitarian asylum in 2 cases, to a Nigerian and a Yugoslav under the torture provision of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Since 1990, Slovenia has granted asylum in only five cases.

In 2002, the number of undocumented migrants entering Slovenia dropped to about 6,300, a 70 percent decrease from the year before. The steep decrease in both asylum applications and illegal migrations appears to be due mainly to intensified border monitoring between Slovenia and its neighbors in the former Yugoslavia. The tightened control has led to concern over the access of asylum seekers to procedures in Slovenia.

Asylum Procedure

Asylum seekers may apply at the Ministry of the Interior, at a reception center, or with the police, regardless of the legality and length of their presence in Slovenia. Border authorities are directed to refer asylum seekers to a reception center. Every applicant is entitled to an individual hearing. Slovenia's Administrative Court hears appeals of initial decisions, and must reach a verdict within 30 days.

Slovenia also has a procedure for manifestly unfounded claims, including those who originate from or travel though countries deemed safe (in 2002, the European Union [EU] nations and Hungary). An asylum seeker has only 5 days to appeal a decision made under this procedure, and all appeals suspend deportation. In addition to asylum, Slovenia also considers applicants for "humanitarian asylum" if they risk torture as defined by Article 3 the ECHR.

Parliament amended Article 27 of the Law on Asylum to permit the government to restrict the movement of asylum applicants for up to four months if the asylum seeker is suspected of misleading authorities or abusing the asylum procedure.

Temporary Protection

Slovenia also grants temporary protection, and has given this status to Bosnians and Kosovars who fled the civil wars in their countries. Beneficiaries receive accommodation in a collective center, health care, and education. Persons under temporary protection can only work two months a year or eight hours a week. Persons with temporary protection are allowed to apply for asylum.

The Slovenian authorities recognized that the law does not accord a suitably broad array of rights, nor does it define the maximum length of time for temporary protection. An extensive revision of the law is planned for 2003, and authorities plan to grant those with temporary protection integration assistance and the possibility to obtain permanent residence.

At the end of 2002, no Kosovar refugees remained in Slovenia, while some 60 persons from Yugoslavia were awaiting refugee status determinations. During the year, about 30 Bosnian temporary protection beneficiaries changed their status to "foreign status," thus making them eligible for temporary or permanent residence. At the end of the year, 177 Bosnians remained under temporary protection status.

Because of the recognized shortcomings of Slovenian asylum law and the disincentives for persons granted temporary protection to even use it, the U.S. Committee for Refugees counts them, as well as those granted humanitarian asylum, among refugees and asylum seekers in need of protection.

Other temporary protection beneficiaries were dissuaded from applying for a change of status for fear that if accepted only for temporary residence permits, they could lose their temporary protection status if they were later not allowed to renew their temporary residence permits.

Reception and Integration

At the end of 2002, Slovenia had not yet adopted an integration policy. However, during the year, the Parliament adopted the Decree on Reception Conditions for Asylum Seekers and Persons Granted Special Forms of Protection. This defines criteria and procedures to receive basic assistance, including housing, education, and health services.

Due to serious overcrowding in 2000 and the first part of 2001, the Slovenian Government established a number of collective centers to complement the Asylum Home reception center in Ljubljana, where asylum seekers were usually housed after filing their claims. The government also separated the Center of Foreigners, which accommodates illegal migrants, from Asylum Home, which houses asylum seekers.

With funding from the EU, preparations were made for a new reception facility for asylum seekers in Ljubljana, which will provide better living conditions than the Asylum Home.

Repatriation

During 2002, some 180 Bosnian refugees with temporary protection in Slovenia voluntarily repatriated. All received repatriation grants from the government of Slovenia, with supplementary assistance being given to three vulnerable cases.

Legislation

In July 2002, the Slovenian Parliament adopted amendments to the Law on Temporary Refuge, offering Bosnians with temporary protection the option of obtaining permanent residence and establishing comprehensive integration assistance. Under the amendments, years spent with temporary protection count towards the time required to obtain Slovenian citizenship.

Slovenia has granted temporary protection to some 1,300 persons based on the Aliens Act, and about another 2,800 on the basis of the Laws of Regularization of the Status of Citizens from other States-Successors of the former SFRY in the Republic of Slovenia. At years end, some 1,900 Bosnians had obtained residence permits.

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