Police directives on detention of asylum seekers in Postojna (june 2020)

Police directives on detention of asylum seekers in Postojna (june 2020)

In the past year a new practice of detention of asylum seekers was observed in Slovenia. Many of those who have entered the country and managed to start their asylum procedure were taken to a detention centre in Postojna instead of the asylum camp in Ljubljana. Once again, the change is a result of directives from the top, namely, the now former general director of Slovene police Anton Travner. Dispatched to police stations under the Koper regional administration, the   instruction stated that any person caught in irregular border crossing in the Koper region should be taken to police station Ilirska Bistrica and given into custody of employees of the Interior ministry - who would further transfer them to detention centre Postojna. This meant systematic issuing of “official decisions on detention”,  the justification behind which was that a person's freedom of movement should be restricted to the area of a detention center because he or she crossed the border illegally. These instructions clearly state that the purpose of detention is to issue asylum decisions by fast-track procedure, making it easier to deport persons who got their asylum claim denied. The directive as well states that such practice of detention would also make the Balkan Route “less attractive” to people crossing the borders. Needless to say that the majority of the detention decisions were declared unlawful after an appeal at the Administrative Court. Despite this, many people were forced to stay in detention for three months, and with a negative decision in this time, and their appeal rejected - a pushback to Croatia under the readmission agreement followed. 

In the months of autumn the number of detained decreased and it seems that the above practice came to a halt. Despite this, it is frightening how easily the Interior ministry and the police chiefs were able to introduce such arbitrary and fast-track asylum procedures overnight. In the attachment you can find the directives mentioned above.