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

Are You Syrious?
Dec 21, 2019 · 6 min read
Slovenia raised a razor wire fence at its borders in 2016 and has been fortifying the border perimeter and finding ways to reject people since. Photo: AYS archive

Feature

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.

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.

Chart of border crossings side by side with demands of asylum in 2018 on border Police Station Črnomelj

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.

On the 13 th of June 2018, a group of 4 people from Afghanistan (16, 17, 30 and 39 years old) crossed the border near the village of Zilje. Hamid expressed the intention to seek asylum in Slovenia, but the police ignored his request. The group was forced to sign documents in the Slovene language without translations. One of the documents which Hamid signed was about legal representation in the official procedure because he was underage. They were kept at Črnomelj Police Station for 7 hours before they were expelled to Croatia and then BH.

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.

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.

On 27th July, a group of six men from Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco arrived in the vicinity of Črnomelj after many days of walking from Velika Kladuša, Bosnia. Hakim expressed the intention to seek asylum in Slovenia many times, but the Palestinian translator said they had no option to apply for asylum because of their nationality. Out of six people the police interviewed only one person for the whole group. The following day they were forced to sign documents in the Slovene language, and then at around 19.00 h, the Slovenian police took them to a place that looked like a rubbish dump where there were collectively handed over to the Croatian police. From there they were driven in a van to a green border with Bosnia and Herzegovina near Velika Kladuša. The people left the van two by two and when they stepped out they were attacked by police in masks and beaten. The policemen also used electric sticks.

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.


Greece

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:


Germany

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:


Norway

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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Are You Syrious?

Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

Are You Syrious?

Written by

Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

Are You Syrious?

Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

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