UNHCR: Changes to the Aliens Act would jeopardize the right to asylum
Ljubljana, 25 January 2017
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today called on the National Assembly of Slovenia to reject any legislative changes that would jeopardize the rights of those fleeing war and persecution to seek asylum in the country.
The National Assembly of Slovenia is preparing to discuss and adopt changes to the Aliens Act on 26 January. UNHCR believes that amendments to the legislation currently being proposed by lawmakers on access to Slovenian territory and asylum procedures in emergency situations could breach Slovenia’s commitments under the 1951 Refugee Convention, which outlines legal obligations of States to protect refugees and has been ratified by the Government, and EU law.
“UNHCR is particularly concerned that these amendments, if passed, could breach Slovenia’s commitments to prevent refoulement,” said Montserrat Feixas Vihe, UNHCR’s Regional Representative for Central Europe. “We are calling on Slovenia not to pass legislation that could result in the expulsion of people seeking international protection, or prevent access to its territory or asylum procedures for those forced to flee.”
States should manage their borders in a manner that is consistent with their responsibilities under national, EU and international law to protect asylum-seekers and refugees.
UNHCR reminds lawmakers that the right to seek asylum is not incompatible with managing borders and addressing security concerns.
UNHCR has presented detailed comments on the proposed amendments and has sought the support of the Prime Minister and the President of the National Assembly in ensuring that any changes to Slovenian law do not contravene its commitments to international law and the Refugee convention.