| publié le 29 novembre 2006 |
CITIZENSHIP : « ERASED » SLOVENIANS TO MEET WITH MEPS
A delegation of « erased » people from Slovenia is in the European Parliament on 29 November to lobby for an end to their « civil death ». Following Slovene independence in 1991, thousands of Slovene residents, mostly born in other Yugoslav republics, lost their legal status.
« Their lives and civil and social rights, recognised before the independence of Slovenia, have been officially “erased” », noted MEPs Giusto Catania, Luisa Morgantini and Roberto Musacchio (GUE/NGL, Italy). The three MEPs have organised a press conference as well as meetings with the Jean-Marie Cavada, Chair of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee. There is also a trip planned to see Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini.
The Slovene language uses the term « izbrisani » or « erased ones », referring to almost 30,000 persons deleted from official records on 26 February 1992. Such persons, often in socially and economically difficult positions, had not applied for Slovenian citizenship in time. Many were unaware of the requirement to do so and thereby lost health and social insurance rights and even driving licenses. Others did not want to apply for Slovenian citizenship for political reasons and have since left. Associations put the number of erased’ citizens at 18,000, the government claims only 4,000.
« This is a major political issue and has generated much political heat », admitted a Slovene diplomat. « We have been trying to solve it for years. » The Slovene official, however, doubts whether the Italian MEPs will contribute constructively to solving the problem. Previous attempts at a solution include a law, which entered into force in August 1999, following EU pressure. The « erased » had only three months to gather necessary papers to apply for citizenship. Many did not know the law had been passed.
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