AYS Daily Digest 20/12/19: Internal docs of Slovenian police show how they disregard asylum requests
New arrivals in Greece // Rescues by Ocean Viking // Scheduled deportation to Kabul from Germany // Turkish PKK member in prison although granted asylum in Norway
Slovenians disclose how they abuse the readmission agreement with Croatia to get rid of asylum seekers
Last week the Administrative Court in Slovenia ordered the Slovenian police to disclose a number of internal documents revealing internal orders regarding how police officers should operate when dealing with migrants who had crossed the border and requested asylum.
In one of the documents from the Police Administration of Novo Mesto it is written that when a migrant requests asylum in Slovenia in the presence of Slovenian and Croatian police, this should be interpreted by the Slovenian police officer as meaning that the migrant has requested asylum in Croatia.
The directive in this document is similar to already published documents from 25.5.2018, when the former General Director of the Slovene Police Simon Velički ordered Slovene police officers working in mixed patrols with Croatian police to return migrants to Croatia even if they request an asylum procedure in Slovenia.
The vague content of these instructions is a clue to the administrative basis for the systematic denial of the right to international protection and to the massive malversation in the official procedures at border police stations in Slovenia. For example, at the Police Station of Črnomelj, a municipality bordering Croatia, which is under the administration of Novo Mesto, the number of asylum requests dropped from 371 in May 2018 to only 13 in June 2018.
This dramatic drop in asylum requests is a direct result of the revealed documents, although they do not explain what is the legal basis for returning migrants who are found in central Slovenia or even at the border with Italy. Testimonies of migrants who were processed at Slovene police stations report verbal and sometimes physical abuse; requests for asylum are met with threats of violence and many are forced to sign untranslated documents renouncing any claim to asylum, providing the basis for their “push back” to Croatia. These documents are signed with no given explanation or with the explicit promise that their signature is required for entering the asylum procedure.
Newly revealed internal documents requested by Amnesty International Slovenia and revealed by the Court, which are still not fully available to the public, additionally prove the clearly discriminatory and illegal policy of the Slovenian police.
The instructions written by the general command also state that state officials in the Vič Asylum Centre should issue decisions for asylum seekers from Algeria and Morocco to be transferred to the Detention Centre in Postojna, where they have no right to free movement, as they are more likely to be violent, use drugs and abuse the right to asylum by leaving the country before their procedure has been completed.
Despite clear evidence of a high risk of physical abuse, numerous other forms of official disrespect (confiscating valuables, destroying their meager possesions including telephones and even jackets and shoes) and even torture at the hands of Croatian authorities, the Slovenian Police last year returned more that 4,500 people to Croatia under the readmission agreement between Croatia and Slovenia.
This year the Slovene police has by the end of November returned to Croatia more than 10,500 people with 15,200 recorded irregular border crossings.
The “readmission agreement” between Croatia and Slovenia, it is suspected, forms the official basis for this massive international disrespect of numerous basic liberties, not to mention international treaties starting with the principle of “non-refoulement” (Article 33, 1951 Refugee Conventions).
Even if the readmission agreement was legal, it would still be problematic. As the agreement is an international contract between an EU member state and a non-member state (as Croatia was not a member at the time of the agreement) it should not be valid even under the most transparent and humane conditions, though they are by no means either transparent or humane.
It is important to note that in 2019 Slovenia has granted international protection to only 67 people, while 3,640 asylum requests were filed. Additionally, asylum seekers in Slovenia wait usually more than one and up to four years to receive a decision on their asylum procedure, receive only 18 euros per month of allowance and have to wait 9 months for a work permit, so many are forced to seek options for survival outside the country.
At least 522 people arrive on the islands
Aegean Boat Report says at least 10 boats landed today. Six boats landed on Lesvos, one on Chios and three on Farmakonisi, from where the people were transferred to Leros.
Search and Rescue
MSF reports that 112 people were rescued in the early morning hours:
New deportation to Kabul announced
Several signs indicate that there will be a deportation to Kabul on January 14. It is recommended that all Afghans with invalid residence permits should seek legal advice. Official authorities should be informed about all integration steps, such as upcoming apprenticeships.
More information in German, Dari and Farsi:
PKK member denied and then granted asylum, but remains a political prisoner
In Turkey, Gülizer Tasdemir, a Turkish national, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for being a member of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party). She had previously applied for asylum in Norway on the grounds of having to face prison and political prosecution in her home country. Her application was denied. She was arrested at an airport in Turkey in July 2018. After her arrest, Norwegian institutions acknowledged their mistake and granted her asylum, but at that moment she was already in prison. Since then, no efforts have been undertaken to get her out of prison and back to Norway, as stated by her lawyer. According to a friend of hers, with whom she is corresponding by letter as no other means of communication are allowed, Tasdemir is in a serious health condition but has been denied any medical assistance.
You can read more in Norwegian here:
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