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The Erased People in Slovenia The Discriminative Practices Accompanying the Creation of a Nation State.

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Presentation on theme: "The Erased People in Slovenia The Discriminative Practices Accompanying the Creation of a Nation State."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Erased People in Slovenia The Discriminative Practices Accompanying the Creation of a Nation State

2 Historical Context Yugoslavia – a federation of 6 republics Yugoslavia – a federation of 6 republics Slovenia’s Independence - 25th June 1991 Slovenia’s Independence - 25th June 1991 By creating a nation state a once ethnic community became a state-constituting nation By creating a nation state a once ethnic community became a state-constituting nation Emergence of a need to define the body of Slovenian nationals Emergence of a need to define the body of Slovenian nationals

3 Status of the Erased before 1991 Citizenship: Citizenship: 1) Yugoslavian + 1) Yugoslavian + 2) Citizenship of one of the (republics) but Slovenia 2) Citizenship of one of the (republics) but Slovenia Permanent Residency: In Slovenia (outside the republic of person’s citizenship) Permanent Residency: In Slovenia (outside the republic of person’s citizenship) Rights: They enjoyed the same rights as Slovenian citizens Rights: They enjoyed the same rights as Slovenian citizens

4 The right to acquire citizenship after the independence Art. 40 of Citizenship Act: the right of nationals of other republics with permanent residence in the Republic of Slovenia to acquire Slovenian citizenship Art. 40 of Citizenship Act: the right of nationals of other republics with permanent residence in the Republic of Slovenia to acquire Slovenian citizenship Strict Conditions – citizenship was not granted to those who committed crimes and those who “represented a threat to public order” Strict Conditions – citizenship was not granted to those who committed crimes and those who “represented a threat to public order” Condition: to apply for citizenship within 6 months from entry into force of the Citizenship Act Condition: to apply for citizenship within 6 months from entry into force of the Citizenship Act Deadline: 26th December 1991 Deadline: 26th December 1991

5 Becoming Illegal Those who did not apply for citizenship (or were refused it) fell under the jurisdiction of the Aliens Act Those who did not apply for citizenship (or were refused it) fell under the jurisdiction of the Aliens Act BUT: Art. 81/2 of the Aliens Act said that the provision of this act shall apply two months after the expiry of the deadline from Citizenship Act – 26 February 1992 BUT: Art. 81/2 of the Aliens Act said that the provision of this act shall apply two months after the expiry of the deadline from Citizenship Act – 26 February 1992 No act regulated the transitory period between 26 December 1991 and 26 February 1992 No act regulated the transitory period between 26 December 1991 and 26 February 1992 Therefore: those who did not become citizens, became de facto foreigners illegally residing in Slovenia Therefore: those who did not become citizens, became de facto foreigners illegally residing in Slovenia In some cases the already obtained Slovenian citizenship was subsequently revoked In some cases the already obtained Slovenian citizenship was subsequently revoked

6 Erasure 26th February 1992 – the records of people who did not apply for citizenship (or were not granted it) were ex officio 26th February 1992 – the records of people who did not apply for citizenship (or were not granted it) were ex officiotransferred from the register of permanent residents to a register of foreigners With the transfer they lost their habitual residence statuses With the transfer they lost their habitual residence statuses They were never notified on this move in any way They were never notified on this move in any way

7 Statistics people acquired Slovenian citizenship ex lege, were denied their applications people acquired Slovenian citizenship ex lege, were denied their applications permanent residents were transferred from one register to another permanent residents were transferred from one register to another people voluntary unregistered before the erasure had taken place people voluntary unregistered before the erasure had taken place people voluntarily unregistered after the erasure without knowing about it people voluntarily unregistered after the erasure without knowing about it Final number: unlawfully erased people (or almost 1% of the population) Final number: unlawfully erased people (or almost 1% of the population)

8 Coincidence? Mistake? The erasure was not an accident, it was a systematic state action The erasure was not an accident, it was a systematic state action Some politicians were aware of the dangerousness of such measures: Some politicians were aware of the dangerousness of such measures: 1991 – There was an initiative to temporarily regulate legal status of SFRJ nationals who did not apply for citizenship that was rejected (justification: such matter must be regulated with inter-state agreement) 1991 – There was an initiative to temporarily regulate legal status of SFRJ nationals who did not apply for citizenship that was rejected (justification: such matter must be regulated with inter-state agreement) 1991 – National Assembly rejected an amendment to Aliens Act that proposed issuing permanent residence permits to those who did not apply for citizenship 1991 – National Assembly rejected an amendment to Aliens Act that proposed issuing permanent residence permits to those who did not apply for citizenship

9 Grounds for Erasure No legal basis, only an Internal decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs No legal basis, only an Internal decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs According to the 1999 Constitutional Court Decision, the erasure was unlawful and unconstitutional According to the 1999 Constitutional Court Decision, the erasure was unlawful and unconstitutional

10 Political Context Favoring maximum restrictions in granting Slovenian citizenship to applicants of non-Slovenian ethnic origin Favoring maximum restrictions in granting Slovenian citizenship to applicants of non-Slovenian ethnic origin (e.g. initiative for referendum – to revoke citizenship granted according to Art. 40 of Citizenship Act) (e.g. initiative for referendum – to revoke citizenship granted according to Art. 40 of Citizenship Act) Right wing deputies demanded that the citizenships granted on the basis of Art. 40 of citizenship act be revoked. Right wing deputies demanded that the citizenships granted on the basis of Art. 40 of citizenship act be revoked. Resentment towards former common federation, especially towards Yugoslav People’s Army that carried out a 10-day aggression on Slovenia after the independence Resentment towards former common federation, especially towards Yugoslav People’s Army that carried out a 10-day aggression on Slovenia after the independence

11 1999 Settling of the Status of Other SFRY Successor States in the Republic of Slovenia Act Gave an option to apply for permanent residence permits (that were once already taken away from them) Gave an option to apply for permanent residence permits (that were once already taken away from them) The first opportunity to retrieve lost statuses ex nunc (not ex tunc as required by the Constitutional Court) The first opportunity to retrieve lost statuses ex nunc (not ex tunc as required by the Constitutional Court) The deadline to apply was only 3 months from entry into force of the Act The deadline to apply was only 3 months from entry into force of the Act

12 2002 Amendments of Citizenship Act After the campaign to reinstate the rights of the erased, the 2002 amendments to Citizenship Act were adopted giving the erased another opportunity to apply for citizenship. After the campaign to reinstate the rights of the erased, the 2002 amendments to Citizenship Act were adopted giving the erased another opportunity to apply for citizenship. The law was an attempt to eliminate injustice. The law was an attempt to eliminate injustice. The conditions were less strict; however, the citizenship would be granted ex nunc, NOT ex tunc. The conditions were less strict; however, the citizenship would be granted ex nunc, NOT ex tunc.

13 Constitutional Court Decisions February 1999: Unconstitutionality of Citizenship Act referring the erased under the jurisdiction of Aliens Act February 1999: Unconstitutionality of Citizenship Act referring the erased under the jurisdiction of Aliens Act July 1999: Complainants should be deemed permanent residents of Slovenia retroactively, from 26 February 1992 July 1999: Complainants should be deemed permanent residents of Slovenia retroactively, from 26 February : The entire Settling of the Status of Other SFRY Successor States Act is declared unconstitutional since it did not recognize permanent residence of citizens of other SFRY successor states from February 26, : The entire Settling of the Status of Other SFRY Successor States Act is declared unconstitutional since it did not recognize permanent residence of citizens of other SFRY successor states from February 26, 1992 Const. Court advised the legislator to recognize permanent statuses retroactively from 26 February 1992 (ergo, to regulate statuses ex tunc) Const. Court advised the legislator to recognize permanent statuses retroactively from 26 February 1992 (ergo, to regulate statuses ex tunc)

14 Implementation of the Constitutional Court Decision Disagreements on whether the Const. Court can create law according to Slovenian legal system. A “technical law” for the implementation of the Const. Court decision was adopted, but also annulled with a referendum Ministry of Internal Affairs began recognizing statuses retroactively directly on the grounds of the Const. Court decision. Statistics: statuses recognized, cases still need to be considered (the remaining out of managed to regulate their statuses).

15 Civil Society Developments Association of the Erased Residents of Slovenia (since February 2002) Association of the Erased Residents of Slovenia (since February 2002) Mobilization of the civil society Mobilization of the civil society Mixed impressions whether the increased discussion made firmer ground for dealing with the situation or increased intolerance Mixed impressions whether the increased discussion made firmer ground for dealing with the situation or increased intolerance

16 New Political Environment (2005) In December 2004 a new center-right government was elected In December 2004 a new center-right government was elected Members of the government parties were historically against resolving the situation of the erased in accordance with the Constitutional Court decisions Members of the government parties were historically against resolving the situation of the erased in accordance with the Constitutional Court decisions Some of them were actively participating in it Some of them were actively participating in it Their plan is to adopt a constitutional law that would regulate their statuses Their plan is to adopt a constitutional law that would regulate their statuses Pretext: to overrule the Constitutional Court decision Pretext: to overrule the Constitutional Court decision

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