Slovenia is party to the 1954, but not the 1961 Convention nor the Council of Europe statelessness instruments. Statelessness can be identified through administrative procedures for the acquisition of a residence permit or naturalisation, leading to different rights depending on the status granted and prescribed conditions. However, there is no specific ‘stateless’ protection status and the definition of a stateless person in Slovenian law is narrower than the 1954 Convention. There is no obligation on the authorities to consider a claim of statelessness, the burden of proof is on the applicant and there is no legal aid except for judicial review. A grant of ‘permission to stay’, for example, entails access to emergency healthcare, primary education and basic financial assistance only.
There are some gaps in protections against the arbitrary detention of stateless people. Under the Slovenian Constitution a proportionality test must be carried out when deciding to detain, but in practice, a country of removal may not be identified prior to detaining, and alternatives to detention are not routinely considered. There are provisions in nationality law to prevent statelessness in the case of foundlings, adopted children and most children born to Slovenian parents abroad. But the acquisition of nationality at birth by children born in Slovenia who would otherwise be stateless depends on the status of the parents, who must be stateless or unknown. There are some practical barriers to birth registration for migrants and refugees, and Slovenia has received several UPR recommendations relating to the status of ‘erased persons’.
Katarina Vučko, The Peace Institute