Svet za vsakogar

Statement of asylum seekers in the Republic of Slovenia currently situated in the Asylum Home of Ljubljana, who, together with activists of the Social Centre Rog, formed the movement “WORLD FOR EVERYONE”

Absence of legal rights, endless humiliations from the part of employees of the Asylum Home of Ljubljana, constant fear of rejected asylum applications and deportations, pursuits and mobbing as reaction to asylum seekers’ critics of the Asylum Home administration, have brought together individuals of different nationalities and religious affiliations: the Orthodox, Catholics, Jewish and Muslims.

It is in our belief that the system providing asylum seekers (refugees) with help in the Republic of Slovenia is nothing but a formality aimed at giving impression in front of European eyes. Official information shows that of 500 asylum seekers that the Asylum Home of Ljubljana receives annually, the Republic of Slovenia granted only three Geneva Convention refugee statuses on 2006 and 2007.

Persons who have left our countries seeking international protection are handed over to the state apparatus dictated by the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Slovenia. We are left without any legal help whatsoever, without support of organisations assuring legal help, without legal representatives, translators, and even without access to information on where to seek necessary help. Asylum seekers are subjected to latent, sometimes even open pressures. The Asylum Home administration constantly manipulates with and misleads asylum seekers unfamiliar with their own rights, which the very same administration should inform them about.

Individuals like us, who have fled war zones or countries with totalitarian or dictatorship regimes, where we were subjected to persecution in various forms, were suddenly faced with the Slovenian state machinery aimed at rejecting or discouraging asylum seekers with a set of means following the principle “no person – no problem”. One such example is given by recent events in the Asylum Home, reported by all Slovenian media. Namely, the Asylum Home administration’s acts based on directives issued by the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Slovenia led to an escape of two Russian citizens from the Asylum Home of Ljubljana. Despite their critical health condition caused by a long hunger strike and an extensive loss of blood following a suicide attempt while still in the Asylum Home, the administration locked them in the detention ward characterised by a rigorous, isolated, 24-hour security regime.

Unable to bear conditions and circumstances created by the Asylum Home’s administration, majority of asylum seekers are forced to leave Slovenia and escape to other countries. Those who try to escape are immediately deported in line with the Dublin Convention allowing the Republic of Slovenia to terminate asylum procedures and deport asylum seekers to their home countries. Consequently, Slovenia gets rid of asylum seekers without assuming any responsibility whatsoever. Moreover, this is how the system is enabled to play games with people’s fate and lives.

One of the biggest problems faced by asylum seekers is a lack of information on how eligibility of our asylum applications is being examined. Namely, the Asylum Home administration systematically dissimulates information on asylum procedures, as well as information regarding consideration proceedings, deadlines and legal provisions serving as basis for decision-making processes. Furthermore, as asylum seekers, we do not have access to legal acts and other relevant provisions regulating asylum procedures, which include the Geneva Convention and the Dublin Convention, regardless of the fact that we are entitled to gain access to such fundamental information.

Asylum application and initial interview

Examination of an individual asylum application is merely a formality. The outcome of the asylum application is known and undoubtedly negative. None of the appointed individual judges running asylum procedures are willing to know what an asylum seeker had endured prior to his/her arrival to the Republic of Slovenia. The entire asylum procedure is thus unfair.

In the very beginning of the asylum procedure or during the initial contact with an appointed official, the asylum seeker is infatuated with an inaccurate designation of the procedure. Namely, they tell the asylum seeker (who is actually undergoing the initial-interview procedure) it is merely an application or identification process, etc. Yet, following this short procedure, asylum seekers end up with rejected asylum applications; it becomes obvious that the short proceeding was actually the initial interview giving as basis for the entire application procedure. The initial interview is conducted immediately following an asylum seeker’s arrival to the Asylum Home (the next day), regardless of his/her physical or psychological condition. People are under immense stress caused by journey to Slovenia and sleepless nights. Formally speaking, we do receive a list of legal representatives; however, this is at the same time accompanied by the Asylum Home’s employees pointing to high prices of legal representation and translation services to be covered by ourselves. Moreover, they tend to assure us that we can make it through the asylum process even without their services, since Slovenia is “a democratic state offering international protection”. The fact that there are free-of-charge professional legal representatives at our disposal is well kept from us, which is yet another way of forcing us into waiving our right to legal representation we are entitled of. Assuring that we would be given another opportunity and time to give longer explanations of our situations, we are demanded to give short accounts of our problems. When trying to give detailed explanations of reasons for our asylum applications, they try to prevent us from doing so. They put pressure on us and demand our accounts be as short as possible. Furthermore, they always try to divert us. Once the interview is finished, the translator present during the interview reads minutes aloud; however, the translator only reads sections of the interview, where the asylum seeker gives direct answers to given questions. The asylum seeker’s request for a written translation of the interview is rejected immediately and holds no possibility of complaint. Inaccuracies in the translation are only amended upon the asylum seeker’s protest. All this is accompanied by Asylum Home employees’ assurances that we will be given opportunity to correct the mistakes during our second interview. It is needless to say that the document partly read aloud by the translator leaves substantial space for fabricated information, irregularities in translation, as well as for intentional forges. Hence, we are entirely dependent on moral values of the Asylum Home employees conducting our interviews. This is even added by the fact that an exhausted person subjected to stress and psychological pressure, who is also left without legal representation, is physically incapable to follow content of the complicated interview being read out fast. Minutes of individual interviews are therefore mostly inaccurate, as they do not contain what we stated during our interviews, and because they twist our words and consequently deteriorate our position. At the same time, the employees emphasise that refusing to sign minutes of the interview equals rejection of our asylum application. Therefore, we are eventually forced into signing an inaccurate document written in the language we do not understand.

Second interview

Following the initial interview, the asylum seeker is left in an uncertain situation and subjected to immense psychological pressure. The asylum seeker is frightened and entirely dependent on Asylum Home employees’ sympathies. Living conditions and relations between asylum seekers, as well as those among asylum seekers and the employees, are defined in a manner suggesting that the Asylum Home is not a state institution, but rather a private corporate entity where all decisions are based on the administration’s sympathies towards its workers.

Decisions regarding subsequent proceedings are based on information obtained during the initial interview. If the latter does give substantial reason for a “negative” the employees start putting psychological pressure on asylum seekers and manipulating consideration proceedings, which may be further stalled on basis of unreasonable apologies and banal excuses. Using all available means, the Asylum Home administration and authorised individuals maintain that asylum seekers are worthless and unimportant persons, that we will not be given any help at all, and that our asylum applications are nothing but a waste of time. Therefore, majority of asylum seekers seek refuge in other countries, which, drawing upon provisions stated by the Dublin Convention, deport them back to Slovenia that subsequently deports them to their home countries. On the other hand, those who avoid deportation, are victims of illegalisation and remain on the Slovenian territory without any documents and pertaining rights. There are only few examples of people, who have left the Republic of Slovenia and are entitled to help provided by the countries they escaped to, therefore our fate (and often our lives) depends entirely on procedures in the Republic of Slovenia.

Similarly to the initial interview, asylum seekers face the following irregularities, arbitrary measures and pressure during our second and third interview:

- Forging acquired information.
- Absence of written translations.
- Psychological pressure imposed on asylum seekers and their representatives.
- Inspectors strive to divert and deter asylum seekers during their interviews.

We believe that, when examining our asylum applications, the Ministry of Interior or the Asylum Home it represents, acts outside jurisdictions. Namely, negative decisions do not comply with valid legal acts and regulations, but are rather based on emotions, “logical references”, suppositions and assumptions denying dangers imposed on asylum seekers, as well as on basis of the “I believe or I do not believe” criteria.

Asylum Home

Additionally to above-given violations in the procedure, asylum seekers are subjected to further irregularities and humiliations in our quotidian lives in the Asylum Home of Ljubljana, which is managed by its administration and based on directives of the Slovenian Ministry of Interior. Some of them are given below:

- Without any legal grounds, asylum seekers are bound to return to the Asylum Home no later than at 10 p.m. At 7.30 a.m., they undergo arbitrary inspections of their rooms, as inspectors enter their rooms, hence denying asylum seekers’ their right to private space and life. The Asylum Home administration’s acts thus constantly impose psychological pressure and violate asylum seeker’s fundamental human rights.
- Absence of help from the part of the social service within the Asylum Home, thus leaving asylum seekers entirely on their own.
- Lack of information provided in languages spoken by asylum seekers.
- Inaccessibility to print media (newspapers, magazines), internet radio, and television.
- The administration causes conflicts among asylum seekers, and later accuses asylum seekers of intolerant behaviour toward other cultures.
- Legal help is of a merely formal nature.
- Absence of non-surveyed rooms, where asylum seekers would be able to meet their legal representatives, representatives of non-governmental organisations or independent legal consultants, etc. in private.
- Medical help is being provided on a very formal level.
- Insufficient child nutrition (2 decilitres of milk per day).
- Nursery is merely a formality.
- Distribution of clothes among asylum seekers is fundamentally based on the employees’ inclinations toward individual asylum seekers.
- The right to laundering is limited to a minimum.
- Education only takes place on a formal level.
- Several training programmes are conducted only by volunteers.
- The Asylum Home artificially causes problems regarding allowed absence from the Asylum Home, and regarding absence for the purposes of employment.
- Asylum seekers do not enjoy the right to move, namely to reside outside the Asylum Home.
- Addressing asylum seekers’ complaints is merely a formality.
- The Asylum Home administration in advance rejects any critics of asylum seekers.
- The Asylum Home administration’s revenge for asylum seekers’ complaints to the media. Admonitions based on fabricated facts.
- The internal order of the Asylum Home gives asylum seekers only one freedom: the freedom of religious rites. All other articles refer to asylum seekers’ obligations.
- Unfounded inspections of asylum seekers entering or leaving the Asylum Home, also in the presence of children.
- Disappearances of documents from asylum seekers’ files.
- Unfounded handing over of asylum seekers’ dossiers to different inspectors.
- Physical violence against asylum seekers imposed from the part of the Asylum Home’s security and police officers of the Vič Police Station.
- Locking asylum seekers in the Asylum Home’s detention ward is an inhumane policy serving as a means of intimidation.
- The very existence of the detention ward located within the Asylum Home is contrary to international human rights and fundamental freedoms standards. Actual detention provisions are arbitrary and insufficient in their explanation.

Our greatest regret is the fact that the established system leaves severe consequences on children constantly witnessing all the aforementioned procedures, rejected asylum applications, and deportations. Children staying in the Asylum Home are exposed to psychological burdens leading to deteriorated health and psychological conditions. Deportations may well result in children losing their parents. Striving for the protection of our rights and freedoms, we have often called upon several organisations, including those offering legal help. Furthermore, we have informed state authorities of the Republic of Slovenia, among them the National Assembly of RS, the Ministry of Interior, the European Parliament, the UNHCR office in Budapest, the Slovenian Ombudsman of Human Rights, and the media – radio, TV, newspapers and magazines. State authorities have never responded to either our pleadings or notices and warnings published by the media.

We demand objective examination of our asylum procedures, freedom of movement for asylum seekers, possibilities of integrating into the Slovenian society, and an end to the repression imposed on asylum seekers.

Social Centre Rog, Ljubljana, 22 March 2008

Svet za vsakogar

novo na portalih gibanj