Eritrean refugees departing from the Ciampino airport in Italy | Photo: ANSA/Telenews
Eritrean refugees departing from the Ciampino airport in Italy | Photo: ANSA/Telenews

A group of Eritrean asylum seekers have held a protest in Slovenia against asylum request procedures, which the community sees as unfair. They also demonstrated against the rejection of five asylum claims filed by Eritreans.

Eritrean asylum seekers protested Wednesday morning in front of the building hosting them in the center of the Slovenian capital. The demonstration was an attempt to draw the attention of the government and the public to asylum procedures, which the protesters see as unfair.

The approximately 15 protestors claim that Slovenia should grant asylum to all Eritrean citizens filing a request because the country is the "North Korea of the African continent," as one banner stated.

Rejected asylum requests

The protest, organized by the Eritrean community in Slovenia alongside a small group of supporters, was decided upon on December 31 when the interior ministry rejected asylum requests filed by five Eritreans.

Those taking part in the demonstration say the reasons for the rejections were unprofessional and inconsistent, arguing that they are based on an assessment of Eritrea as a safe country.

After reading a statement in several languages issued by the guests of a migrant center, the protestors called on the government to review the decisions and to create a policy concerning Eritrea in line with international human rights law as well as a decision-making process that is quicker and fair.

Change in direction

In recent months, the Slovenian government had granted international protection to other Eritrean nationals and had accepted refugees from Eritrea as part of an international relocation program.

This change in direction, protestors claim, must thus be politically motivated. It is also unclear what will happen to those whose requests were rejected. According to Slovenia's STA news agency, the interior ministry has rejected the accusations and reiterated that political motivations are not behind the decision since every request is examined on an individual basis. 

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