Council of Europe Commissioner Hammarberg Visits State Secretary MaroltOn 22 March 2012, State Secretary Robert Marolt met with the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Thomas Hammarberg. They talked about the erased and a definitive resolution of their situation. The Commissioner focused on the implementation of the Act Amending the Act Regulating the Legal Status of Citizens of Former Yugoslavia Living in the Republic of Slovenia (ZUSDDD-B), which entered into force on 24 July 2010.
He was especially interested in activities for informing the erased about the possibility of having their status resolved and the administrative tax in the procedure of acquiring the legal status. The Commissioner also enquired about the reasons for rejecting applications.
By 29 February 2012, 232 applications for permanent residence permit and 103 applications for a special retroactive decision had been lodged at all Administrative Units under the ZUSDDD-B. During this period the Administrative Units issued 65 permanent residence permits, 57 special decisions ex officio and 77 special decisions upon application. Eighty-four applications for residence permit were rejected and 83 applications had not been decided on yet. Among the rejected applications for permanent residence permits many were filed by applicants who had indeed been erased from the register of permanent population; however, it was established during the procedure that they had left Slovenia, for different reasons, before the erasure (in 1991 or earlier) and their departure from Slovenia was not caused by the erasure. When they left, they did not deregister their permanent residence.
State Secretary Marolt pointed out that in 2010 the contents of the ZUSDDD-B were reviewed by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia, which found that the Act eliminated the inconsistencies with the Constitution established in the decision of the Constitutional Court of 2003 in a way that is consistent with the Constitution. The Court also found that on the basis of this Act the legal status of those erased whose status had not yet been resolved could be settled with finality. The State Secretary explained that after the Act had entered into force, the Ministry of the Interior undertook a number of activities to inform all the erased of the possibility of having their status resolved. A special brochure with information on resolving the status was issued in Slovenian, Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian and Macedonian, which is available at all Administrative Units and diplomatic missions and consulates of the Republic of Slovenia in the successor states to the former SFRY. The brochures and all relevant information are also available on the Ministry of the Interior's website and on www.infotujci.si. There is also a free telephone number for additional information.
The State Secretary also informed the Commissioner that from 1 April 2012 onwards the area of work previously covered by the Office for National Minorities was under the remit of the Ministry of the Interior. This was Commissioner Hammarberg's last visit in this capacity as his term finished at the end of March.