Slovenian Presidency breaching EU’s fundamental values
Brussels (26 February) – Today marks the 16th anniversary of the “erasure” by Slovenian authorities of 18,305 persons who were made “invisible” through their illegal removal from the national registry of permanent residents. In a letter to the EU Council of Ministers, Amnesty International calls on EU institutions and Member States to live up to their collective responsibility for the protection of human rights in its territory and ensure that the Slovenian government addresses this ongoing human rights violation.
“This continuous breach of the rights of such a large number of people really casts a shadow over the country currently leading the EU”, said Natalia Alonso, Acting Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office. “It is time for the Slovenian Government to acknowledge and redress these violations”.
The victims continue to suffer the consequences of their ‘erasure’. Many are left with no legal status inside and outside Slovenia and some have become stateless. Access to schools, housing and health is also a problem. The lack of political will to solve this problem questions Slovenia’s commitment to human rights at a crucial moment when it holds the EU presidency. It also violates the very essence of the EU as a space of freedom, justice and security.
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have both considered that the “erasure” was illegal and a violation of human rights – both in character and in its ongoing negative effects. The Slovenian Constitutional Court has also ruled accordingly on two different occasions. However, the Government has neither acknowledged nor provided redress for these violations. Currently it has drafted a special constitutional law that would provide a cover of legality to the act of “erasure”.
Amnesty International has called on the Slovenian authorities several times to address this problem seriously and decisively. It is now reiterating its call on the Council, the Commission and the Parliament to obtain a clear commitment from the Slovenian authorities to address these violations. The most crucial and urgent steps in this direction are to:
- Withdraw the draft constitutional law concerning the ‘erased’;
- Publicly acknowledge its historic responsibility in the ‘erasure’ as an illegal act and violation of human rights;
- Guarantee that any measure adopted to address this problem is in compliance with the decisions and opinions of the Slovenian Constitutional Court and international human rights bodies.