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Aliens act causes international concerns and bad blood in coalition

Ljubljana, 5 December - In one of the most controversial and divisive pieces of legislation this year, the National Assembly endorsed amendments to the aliens act that make it possible for Slovenia to shut its borders tight to refugees in the event of mass migrations by imposing a special, temporary system of border checks. The system would be triggered under special circumstances and would need to be endorsed by an absolute majority in parliament. The law was pushed through on 26 January with the help of the centre-right opposition despite concerns it contravened the Refugee Convention. Several coalition members voted against, including Speaker Milan Brglez, which earned him a call from PM Miro Cerar that he resign as vice president of the ruling party. Although the original proposal was amended to accommodate the concerns of human rights groups at home and abroad, the Council of Europe insists it lacks appropriate guarantees against refoulement and safeguards for the rights of everyone to seek and enjoy asylum. The Constitutional Court is yet to rule on the law but failed to stay its implementation in the meantime as asked by the Human Rights Ombudsman. In line with the law, the Government Office for Support and Integration of Migrants became operational on 1 June.

Razkrižje
Border fence
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

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