(SLO tekst spodaj)


Work group for Asylum and Counseling Office for Workers

In the proximity of the Slovenian border we are currently facing one of the worst humanitarian situations in Europe. Thousands of people are trapped in the migrant camps of Bosnia and Herzegovina with no access to basic care. Their attempts to leave the country are met with violence from the Croatian police, which has also led to political tensions in the region.

But the crisis also presents itself on the other side of the river Kolpa, within the borders of Slovenia, where an increasing number of workers, women and children are denied access to basic rights and are often left outside the formal economy for prolonged periods of time. This situation hsa reached its tipping point and must be addressed immediately.

 1.Illegal pushbacks

 One of the main policy directions from the Slovenian police which has changed the humanitarian conditions on the ground, has been an attempt to defer irregular migration and so-called “abuses of the asylum system”. In order to minimize the number of asylum seekers which leave the asylum homes after a brief stay, the head of police sent a directive ordering border police to end individual processing of applications and return “ineligible asylum seekers” to the Croatian police. Upon scrutiny from non-government organizations the police refused to disclose the orders and were finally forced to do so after a legal dispute between the Information Commissioner. The disclosed documents, along with statistical evidence and refugee testimonies showed that Slovenia indeed implemented a process of mass pushbacks to Croatia, resulting in over 10.000 returned migrants. In doing so it referred to a treaty with Croatia from 2006 and even granted Croatian police jurisdiction to process asylum requests on Slovenian territory. In the recent case of a Moroccan asylum seeker, the Administrative court has deemed such procedures illegal – claiming that the denial of access to legal representation is not only unconstitutional, but also against the European returning directive and Slovenia’s own Foreigner’s Law.

Despite all of this, the practice of illegal pushbacks continues, triggering a number of unintentional consequences. Pushbacks have led to the following dynamics:

1. Having crossed the border, asylum seekers no longer approach the nearest police station to ask for protection and register themselves, but attempt to pass unnoticed through uninhabited areas and reach Ljubljana or Italy, as they rightfully fear being denied access to asylum and hence being subjected to a forced return to the violent Croatian police.

2. This has not led to a decrease in irregular border crossing, but to a decrease of people who attempt to register into the asylum system. Hence there has been an increase of groups travelling through dangerous forest and mountain regions, as documented by refugees and locals, as well as the police themselves.

3. This has increased the role of smugglers, who are often the only means of passing through such difficult terrain unnoticed and avoiding pushbacks. Thus the number of traffickers has gone up significantly since the disputed police directive and they have been given an integral role within the asylum system as well (as documented in a recent scandal where the asylum home staff was providing smuggling services). It has become evident that the number of traffickers will continue to increase in response to the growing number of migrants that are trapped in the Balkans with no means of legally sustaining themselves.

4. The increased numbers of traffickers in Slovenian jails has opened criticisms of how the procedures are being led, as well as questions on the purpose of detaining foreigners who will be returned in any case, and on the subsequent overburdening of the legal system as a whole. Applying “quick sentencing procedures for foreigners” risks lowering the standards of the states legal institutions.

5. By forcing migrants into ever more dangerous routes, the police has been faced by a spike in deaths, injuries and permanent health issues. Over 17 people have drowned in the river Kolpa, while the number of deaths in the wilderness and in trucks remains unknown. A recent news story alerted the public on the death of a 20 year old Syrian refugee, who froze to death close to Ilirska Bistrica, causing significant outrage. There has been no response from the government and the regular counting of bodies has only become an accepted part of border management.

6. At the same time in Croatia, the beating, torture and shooting of migrants, which the police return to Bosnia and Herzegovina, has also become an integral part of border monitoring. Slovenia’s cooperation in the system of chain returns has undoubtedly accentuated the abuses of human rights in the region.

7. An unintended consequence also shows itself in the form of overcrowded migrant camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina, from which migrants can neither travel north nor return home. The inhumane conditions, hunger, illness, cold and violence are well documented. The capacities are full and migrants are forced to sleep outside or search for empty buildings. The closest of such camps is less than 100 km from the Slovenian border, yet the Slovenian police continue returning migrants into such conditions – including women and children.

8. By returning migrants to Croatia on the basis of a treaty from 2006, Slovenia is also breaching European law, as member states cannot form return policies outside the legal framework of the European Union.

9. Finally, the militarization and mas pushbacks on the border have opened corruption risks, as there are no clear results or objectives stemming from the expensive control mechanisms being put into place. There is little justification for continuing the building of fences and hiring of 700 new patrol officers, especially with the pending entrance of Croatia into the Schengen area.

 2.Systemic exclusion of foreigners:

Other policy measures from the Ministry of the interior have focused on decreasing Slovenia’s “pull-factor” for illegal migration and facilitating returns and detention. Mimicking the UKs “hostile environment” policies, there measures have mostly been implemented through changes in the Foreigner’s Law and International Protection Law in order to deter abuses of the system. These policies of deterrence have also been implemented through internal directives to local administrative offices, making family registration and marriage more difficult for foreigners. There has been no evidence of these measures having an effect on irregular migration, and as a vast majority of migrants enter and live in the country legally, it has only led to an ever more complicated system of registration. 

We will attempt here to sum up the effects:

1. There has been a spike of undocumented residents that are now unable to formalize their resident status. A majority of them have entered the country legally – through work, tourist, student or family visas – but have through various circumstances subsequently lost their resident permits and are unable to prolong them in Slovenia. Many of them are unable to return to their countries, are ineligible to travel or have no responding embassy they can address, which leaves them stranded with an undocumented status, even when they have homes, families and jobs in the country.

2. Undocumented status forces residents into an informal economy and exposes them to exploitation, while denying them access to healthcare or social services. As the state raises the administrative stakes for resident permits (difficulties include having to leave fingerprints at an embassy outside the EU, raising income demands for family members, sanctioning late reapplications with expulsions from the country…), many workers, under-aged residents and families find themselves in removal procedures. As their options have been closed shut, many of them opt for avoiding any registration or police procedures, living outside the official system.

3. A similar situation also awaits many asylum seekers and other foreigners which entered the country in an irregular fashion. In case of rejection they also face removal procedures, which are often unmanageable and irrational. The assumed belief is that such persons are “sent home”, while in practice there is no such home to return them to, no embassy willing to accept them and no way of guaranteeing basic safety standards. These migrants thus end up in the Detention Center for Foreigners or are left to live on the streets on “temporary stay permits” with no right to work or access to healthcare. This is seen as a method of psychophysical exhaustion by the police in hopes that the detainees will voluntarily leave the country. As we have seen, such methods often lead to human rights violations and even the death of deportees.

4. Such persons also represent an increasingly large administrative burden for the administrative offices and police, who are forced to spend substantive amounts of time and resources on processes which evidently lead nowhere. As such cases continue to pile up over the years, they represent an increasingly large grey zone of unresolved issues in the administrative system.

5. While there is no evidence of a positive systemic effect, the said policies have led state offices into the implementation of ever more questionable measures. One such measure is the directive of the Ministry of the interior to administrative offices, urging them to racially profile foreigners attempting to register a marriage with a Slovenian partner. In such cases, police are to be notified. Thus the police has taken over the process of affirming marriage status, bypassing all the procedures, interviews and legal processes led by officials at administration offices. This has resulted in cases of illegal detaining of foreigners, seizures of documents and violation of family registration rights – most recently even police home invasions of a foreigner’s Slovenian partner in attempts to preemptively prevent their marriage.

 6. Another such measure is the detention of foreigners in the Foreigners Detention Center. Detention was initially meant as a measure in extreme circumstances – cases where the foreigner represents a threat to public safety or has a history of law evasion, which is not the case for the majority of foreigners attempting to register themselves in the country. However detention is increasingly used as a method of pressuring foreigners into signing deportation statements. In this way they can be detained for up to a year in which the police have unlimited authority over their cases. Such circumstances lead to regular attempts of suicide, self-injuries, hunger strikes and other desperate attempts of detainees to be heard. Far from addressing the legal grey zone of Slovenia’s detention center, the Ministry of the interior proposes a widening of circumstances under which foreigners may be legally detained.

7. Instead of reaching their stated objectives, the recent deterrent measures of the Ministry of the interior have not led to a decrease in irregular migration and residency, but have only deterred foreigners from participating with state institutions.



Delovna skupina za azil in Delavska svetovalnica

V neposredni bližini slovenske meje imamo opravka z najbolj akutno humanitarno krizo v Evropi. Tisoče oseb se brez najnujnejše oskrbe stiska v nehumanih taboriščih v BiH, ob poskusih, da bi območje zapustili, pa so soočeni z nasiljem hrvšake policije, ki uhaja izpod nadzora in močno stopnjuje napetosti v regiji. Kriza pa ne poteka le na južni strani Kolpe - hkrati se namreč znotraj meja Slovenije povečuje število delavcev, žensk in otrok, ki zaradi birokratskih zapletov nimajo dostopa do najosnovnejših pravic in ostajajo zunaj sistema več let ali celo vse življenje. To stanje je nevzdržno in ga je potrebno nemudoma nasloviti.

 1. Protizakonito verižno vračanja v BiH:

Prvi ukrep policije, ki je močno zaznamoval razmere na terenu, je šel v smer preprečevanja domnevnih zlorab azilnega sistema. Da bi zmanjšalo število prosilcev, ki po nekaj dneh zapustijo postopke in se odpravijo v druge države, je vrh policije z direktivo obmejni policiji ukazal, naj preneha z izvajanjem individualnih postopkov in domnevno neupravičene prosilce skupinsko vrača hrvaški policiji. Policija je direktive prekrivala tudi, po zahtevi o javnem razkritju Informacijske pooblaščenka, nazadnje pa jim je razkritje navodil naložilo tudi sodišče. Tako direktive, kot tudi nenaden statistični upad prošenj za azil na obmejnih policijskih postajah in pričevanja beguncev so potrdile, da je policija pričela z vračanjem prosilcev za azil na Hrvaško. Pri tem se sklicuje na sporazum s Hrvaško iz leta 2006 in hrvaškim policistom celo podeljuje pooblastila za izvajanje postopkov na slovenskem ozemlju. Nedavno je protipravnost takšnih postopkov v tožbi maroškega prosilca za azil ugotovilo Upravno sodišče – odrekanje pravnih sredstev pri vračanju oseb je namreč v nasprotju tako z Evropsko direktivo o vračanju, kot tudi Ustavo RS in Zakonom o tujcih.

Praksa vračanja pa se kljub temu nadaljuje. Učinek takšnega varovanja meje pa je povsem kontraproduktiven, saj so migracije od implementacije manj obvladljive, sprožil pa je sledečo dinamiko:

1. Begunci po prečkanju meje več ne pristopijo do prve policijske postaje, da bi zaprosili za azil in vstopili v azilni sistem, ampak se poskušajo preko neobljudenih območij prebiti do Ljubljane ali Italije, saj se (upravičeno) bojijo, da jih bo slovenska policija vrnila nasilni hrvaški policiji, ta pa nazaj v BiH.

2. Tako se ni zmanjšalo število iregularnih prehodov meje, ampak le število ljudi, ki se pri vstopu v državo registrirajo. Povečalo se je torej število skupin, ki potujejo po nevarnih predelih in v gozdovih. To potrjujejo tako pričanja beguncev kot tudi obmejnih prebivalcev, na večjo razpršenost migracij skozi neobljudena in nevarna območja pa kažejo tudi podatki policije.

3. S tem je zrastla tudi vloga tihotapcev, saj so v zaostrenih razmerah pogosto edini način, da se begunci pri prečkanju meje izognejo vrnitvi. Teh je danes več kot pred sporno direktivo, ne glede na ukrepe države pa postajajo integralni del sistema (kot je pokazala nedavna afera v azilnem domu). Število tihotapcev se bo še naprej večalo sorazmero s številom obupanih ljudi, ki nimajo kam iti in nimajho drugih sredstev preživetja, tudi če slovenske zapore zapolnimo do zadnjega kotička.

4. Nenadna rast števila tihotapcev v priporu vzbuja upravičene skrbi o postopkih, po kateri se te osebe obtožuje, o smislu pripora oseb, ki bodo potem vrnjeni v druge države, in seveda o vidni obremenitvi pravosodnega sistema, ki ga je ta ukrep sprožil. Namesto ponovne ocene zaostrenega lova na tihotapce pa smo dobili novo sporno rešitev: hitre sodne postopke, s katerimi se očitno niža standard dela pravosodnega sistema.

5. S tem ko policija sili begunce v iskanje vse nevarnejših poti, se je povečalo tudi število smrti, poškodb in trajnih obolenj. V Kolpi je policija tako samo letos zabeležila 17 utopitev, število umrlih v nevarnem terenu ali v prikolicah tovornjakov pa je nedvomno mnogo večja. V zvezi z očitno nesprejemljivimi posledicami svojih ukrepov slovenska vlada ni storila popolnoma ničesar – preštevanje mrtvih je postal zgolj normalen del varovanja meje.

6. Normalni del varovanja meje pa je medtem na Hrvaškem postalo tudi pretepanje, mučenje in streljanje beguncev, ki jih hrvaška nato v vse slabšem stanju vrača na bosansko mejo. Državni sistem verižnega vračanja beguncev na Hrvaško in preko nje v BiH, je nedvomno prispeval k porasti policijskega nasilja in kršitvam človekovih pravic v regiji.

7. Posledica ukrepa pa so tudi prenatrpana begunska taborišča v BiH, v katerih so ujeti begunci, ki več ne morejo zaprositi za azil v Sloveniji, niti se ne morejo vrniti nazaj. V njih vladajo nehumane razmere, lakota, bolezen, mraz in nasilje. Kapacitete so zapolnjene, ljudje spijo na tleh ali pa iščejo prazne objekte. Najbližji takšen tabor se nahaja le 100 km od slovenske meje, a slovenska policija vrača ljudi tja brez kančka premisleka, tudi ko gre za ženske in otroke.

8. Opozoriti je potrebno tudi na to, da Slovenija z vračanjem ljudi na Hrvaško po sporazumu iz leta 2006 direktno krši evropsko zakonodajo. Sporazum po vstopu Hrvaške v Evropsko Unijo namreč ni več veljaven, saj so članice EU dolžne spoštovati enotno zakonodajo EU in ne morejo samovoljno sklepati sporazumov, ki so v nasprotju z mednarodnimi zakoni.


2. Sistemsko izključevanje:

Drugi problematični ukrep Ministrstva za notranje zadeve je birokratski in je šel v smer zmanjševanja privlačnosti (t.i. “pull faktor”) Slovenije za ilegalne migracije, ter povečanje učinkovitosti vračanja. Gre predvsem za spremembe zakona o tujcih in zakona o mednarodni zaščiti, ki naj bi onemogočale domnevne zlorabe sistema. V to kategorijo spadajo tudi notranje direktive upravnim enotam, ki jim narekujejo prijavljanje porok tujcev in onemogočanje združevanja družin tukaj živečim osebam. Tudi ti ukrepi niso prispevali k večji urejenosti priseljevanja – velika večina ljudi v Slovenijo namreč vstopa na regularen način in jim je s temi postopki to le otežkočeno, medtem ko na iregularne migracije nimajo vidnega vpliva.

Posledice so sledeče:

 1. V Sloveniji skokovito narašča število oseb, ki so nedokumentirane in si ne morejo nikakor urediti statusa. Daleč največ jih je vstopilo na regularen in zakonit način - preko delovnih, turističnih, študentskih ali družinskih dovoljenj, ki pa so jim iz različnih razlogov prenehali veljati in si jih znotraj Slovenije ne morejo podaljšati. Za mnoge velja, da se de fakto ne morejo vrniti v svoje države ali nimajo funkcionalnih ambasad, zaradi česar v Sloveniji, kjer imajo službe in družine, nadaljujejo z iregularnim bivanjem.

 2. Nedokumentiranost ljudi sili v sivo ekonomijo in izkoriščanje, v tem času pa nimajo dostopa do zdravstvenega ali socialnega sistema. Ker država zaostruje administrativne ovire pri urejanju dovoljenj za bivanje (prstne odtise je potrebno oddati zunaj Slovenije, viša se cenzus potrebnih prihodkov za bivanje družin, zamujene roke ali spremembe statusa se sankcionira z izgonom iz države…), se množica delavcev, mladoletnikov in družin, ki v Sloveniji že dela in se šola, znajde v postopkih odstranitve. Ker je država izbrisala vse poti do legalizacije teh oseb, jih sili v skrivanje, v izogibanje registraciji, policijskim postopkom itd…

 3. V podobnih situacijah se znajdejo tudi prosilci za azil in druge osebe, ki so v Slovenijo vstopile na iregularen način. Ti se v primeru zavrnitve prav tako znajdejo v postopku odstranitve, ki največkrat ni izvedljiv, predvsem pa ni racionalen. V teoriji se takšne osebe vrne “na avion in domov”, v praksi pa se največkrat zgodi, da jih policija nima kam vrniti in zato osebe preživijo do eno leto zaprte v Centru za tujce, ali pa brez dovoljenja za delo več let životarijo na t.i. začasnem zadrževanju. Gre za večletno psihološko in fizično izčrpavanje ljudi v upanju, da bodo podpisali papirje za lastno deportacijo. Takšno siljenje v vrnitve za vsako ceno pa večkrat rezultira tudi v kršitvah človekovih pravic ali celo smrti deportirancev.

 4. Te osebe predstavljajo tudi izjemno administrativno breme tako za upravne enote kot policijo - ti morajo posvečati znatna sredstva postopkom, ki ne peljejo nikamor. Z leti se takšni primeri kopičijo in predstavljajo vse večjo sivo cono nerešenih zadev upravnega sistema.

 5. Dosedanja praksa jasno kaže, da restriktivni ukrepi niso prispevali k ureditvi situacije, so pa potisnili državo k sprejemanju izjemno problematičnih ukrepov. Eden takšnih je direktiva, ki upravnim enotam narekuje rasno profiliranje in policijsko prijavljanje oseb, ki želijo registrirati poroko s slovenskim partnerjem. Tako je policija nalogo preverjanja pristnosti zvez odvzela za to pristojnim organom in si sama vzela pravico, da brez ugotovitvenega postopka odloča o zvezah slovenskih partnerjev s tujci in samovoljno prekinja postopke sklenitve zakonskih zvez. To je peljalo do protipravnih priporov tujcev, zasegov listin in oviranja postopka urejanja družinskega življenja – nazadnje pa celo do rednega policijskega ustrahovanja slovenske državljanke na njenem domu, z namenom izgona njenega tujega partnerja.

 6. Drug takšne ukrep pa je zapiranje tujcev z neurejenimi dokumenti v Center za tujce. Gre za izreden ukrep, namenjen osebam, ki predstavljajo resno nevarnost za javni red in mir ali so izkazali izrazito begosumnost, kar seveda za večino oseb, ki dlje časa bivajo v Sloveniji, ne velja. Zapiranje v Center za tujce očitno ni namenjeno preprečevanju pobegov teh oseb, ampak opravlja funkcijo psihološkega pritiska, da se izsili njihovo privolitev v prostovoljno deportacijo. Na ta način so tujci brez zakonske podlage zaprti tudi po eno leto – čas, v katerem ima policija popolno diskrecijo upravljanja z njihovimi pravicami. Nič nenavadnega, da v Centru za tujce neprestano prihaja do samomorov, samopoškodovanja, gladovnih stavk in drugih obupanih poskusov, s katerimi želijo zaporniki opozoriti nase. Namesto da bi to območje brezpravnosti odpravila, pa MNZ v novih predlogih zakona o tujcih širi definicijo begosumnosti na praktično vse tujce, ki si v Sloveniji poskušajo urediti bivanje.

 7. Učinek takega ravnanja je lahko le eden: osebe, ki bi sicer sodelovale v postopkih in si urejale status, se v upravičenem strahu pred deportacijo izogibajo vseh postopkov in nadaljujejo z bivanjem brez dokumentov.



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