Statement of Non Governmental Organizations on the Occasion of World Refugee Day
On the occasion of this years’ World Refugee Day certain NGOs are once again expressing concern over the situation of the asylum seekers and refugees. Their situation did not improve since last year even though the authorities showed preparedness to work on increasing the standards. Therefore we would once again like to point out some problems in this field.
Statistics showing approved requests for international protection in Slovenia are still worrying: in 2008 international protection was granted only to 7 people from 260 that applied for it, therefore our country remains at the tip of the tail of EU countries when it comes to recognizing statuses. Most of the requests are still not examined in merits in regular procedure but are rejected as manifestly unfounded for formal reasons on which the applicants have no impact. It is not taken into account that these persons have suffered severe traumas in their home country as well as en route. Insufficient remains regulation of reception conditions in the Asylum Center and the regulation of free legal aid to which the applicants are still not entitled at the first level of the procedure despite the fact they have no knowledge of law. A great number of reasons for restrictions of movement which are set by the International Protection Act are an extremely serious problem. Treatment of unaccompanied children in Slovenia is contrary to international and Slovenian legislation in various elements: custodianship is not regulated sufficiently, accommodation is not suitable for children, they do not have the same amount of rights as other children in terms of medical care and education and the programs of returning these children to their home state are inappropriate. Concerning the integration of refugees the biggest problem is still access to accommodation and employment while refugees are pointing out discrimination as also a problem. In Slovenia there is still no comprehensive integration policy which would regulate measures for successful integration of refugees and other immigrants into the society.
In the field of asylum the Slovenian legislation follows the EU legislation which is becoming more and more restrictive. Therefore we call upon the authorities to get involved in the planning stage of EU regulations with a view to base EU legislation concerning international protection on higher legal standards. As soon as possible they should prepare and adopt a new International Protection Act in order to eliminate deficiencies of the current Act and increase the respect of constitutional guarantees human rights standards in asylum procedure. In the field of integration permanent coordination between all competent Ministries and other operators should be established, with a view of improvement of the integration process. Regular functioning of the NGOs which work in the field of asylum and are importantly supplementing the work of the governmental sector should be ensured by regular publication of calls for proposals concerning European Refugee Fund, in order to prevent the repetition of the situation from first half of the year 2009 when NGOs were forced to stop the implementation of the activities for almost six months which reflected also in reduced presence in the Asylum Home and by that also weaker civil-society control over respect of rights of international protection applicants.
Contact person: Franci Zlatar, firstname.lastname@example.org , 051 351 340, Slovene Philanthropy
Amnesty International Slovenije, Beethovnova 7, Ljubljana,
Jezuitska služba za begunce, Ulica Janeza Pavla II 13, Ljubljana,
Mirovni inštitut, Metelkova 6, Ljubljana,
Pravno-informacijski center nevladnih organizacij – PIC, Povšetova 37, Ljubljana,
Slovenska filantropija, Poljanska cesta 12, Ljubljana