Covering events from January - December 2004

The status of thousands of former Yugoslav citizens (known as the "erased") who were removed from the Slovenian population registry in 1992 remained unresolved.

Denial of residency and citizenship

Approximately 18,300 people were removed from the Slovenian population registry in 1992, of whom most were citizens of other former Yugoslav republics who had been living in Slovenia and had not filed an application for citizenship after Slovenia became independent. Many became stateless as a result, and a few were reportedly expelled from Slovenia.

The Slovenian Constitutional Court had ruled that the removals from the population registry were unlawful. The Court stated that the removals violated the principle of equality and, in cases of expulsion, violated rights to a family life and to freedom of movement. AI was concerned that the removals also gave rise to violations of social and economic rights: some individuals lost their employment and pension rights. The Slovenian Constitutional Court also decided in April 2003 that previous provisions to resolve this issue were inadequate and ordered the Slovenian authorities to restore the permanent resident status of former Yugoslav citizens who were unlawfully removed from Slovenian registers.

In a referendum in April 2004, approximately 95 per cent of voters rejected the bill to implement the Constitutional Court's decision, which would have restored residency status to approximately 4,000 people. Several political leaders and Slovenian non-governmental organizations had called for a boycott of the referendum, which saw a turnout of around 31 per cent. The issue of the "erased" continued to be heavily politicized, and initiatives to hold a second referendum on the so-called "systemic bill", a second act aimed at addressing the issue of those removed from the population registry in 1992, were blocked by the Constitutional Court.

In the absence of a clear legal framework regulating the implementation of the Slovenian Constitutional Court's decision, the Slovenian Ministry of the Interior began issuing permanent residence decrees. By November, approximately 4,300 such decrees had been issued. AI was concerned at the slow pace of implementation of the Constitutional Court's decision, as well as the fact that individuals concerned might not be granted access to reparation, including compensation.

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