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Who are the people coming to us?

Europe is facing the mass arrival of refugees who are fleeing their homes due to conflict and war because their life and the lives of their children are in danger. These people are families with children; many are highly educated and speak English. 


These people are in distress; they only want to protect themselves, and they need our help. The majority do not want to stay in Slovenia, but to proceed to other EU member states. 



Are the people who need our help refugees or migrants?

In everyday language, we most often use the terms 'refugee' or 'migrant'. Expect talk about so-called mixed migration flows, as the people travelling to Europe include both those fleeing for their lives (refugees) and those who leave their homes in search of a better life (economic migrants).


Those seeking international protection (asylum) request international protection or asylum in Slovenia after crossing the border. They are accommodated in asylum centres, where their cases are processed and they are provided for. Since the majority want to leave Slovenia as soon as possible, we do not expect that many people will request international protection (asylum). 


For everyone else, i.e. those who are not seeking international protection (asylum) in Slovenia, the police establish whether they can be returned to the country they came from or their home country. Because in accordance with the international law, people can only be returned to safe countries, return is sometimes impossible. Countries where people cannot be returned include Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea. The police issues permits to these people which allow them to stay in Slovenia for six months, which can be extended, while helping them to ensure basic living conditions. 



Why are people fleeing their homes?


Most refugees and migrants take one of two routes to Europe: the central Mediterranean route from sub-Saharan Africa through Libya and the central Mediterranean to the shores of Italy, or the Western Balkan route via Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary. 

The current situation is the result of several factors: a bad economic situation, poverty and dysfunctional countries in sub-Saharan Africa, anarchy in Libya, and the escalation of war and armed conflicts in Syria, the very bad situation in the region and an increasingly greater concentration of refugees in neighbouring countries. The great majority of refugees arriving via the Western Balkan route are Syrian, while some refugees come from Iraq and Afghanistan, and to a lesser extent from Eritrea and Somalia.


The situation in Syria

The crisis in Syria continues unabated in its fifth year. Despite the efforts of the special envoy of the United Nations, Staffan de Mistura, a political solution to the crisis is a distant prospect. The violence continues, and the security and humanitarian situation is growing worse. Conflicts between government forces and the armed opposition continue, and civilians pay the highest toll. The situation has deteriorated further due to the presence of Da'esh and other radical groups and the brutal violence and gross violations of human rights committed against the civilian population.


The living conditions are intolerable. Many years of crisis have led to a spike in unemployment and inflation, and the Syrian pound has lost 90 per cent of its value over the last four years. Electricity and drinking water supplies are also a special problem.


Conflicts, violence and the wretched living conditions have caused a great number of civilians to leave their homes. In Syria, 12.2 million people need help, of whom 7.6 million are internally displaced, while there are over 4 million refugees in neighbouring countries. According to UNHCR figures, the number of refuges registered in Turkey is at least 1.9 million, while there are 1.1 million in Lebanon, almost 630,000 in Jordan, almost 250,000 in Iraq, and over 130,000 in Egypt. Some 24,000 have fled to other countries in North Africa. The statistics do not include unregistered refugees or those still being registered.


The countries bordering Syria and other countries in the region are exposed to great humanitarian pressure and find it difficult to provide the refugees with conditions which enable them to maintain their dignity, so many opt for the risky journey to Europe.