Us refugees leave our countries because of war or other problems, like poverty, lack of jobs and prosperity. Some of us escape dictatorships, where we are not allowed to criticise the system in any way, as we would be tortured or even killed if we did.
We escape in hopes that we can find another place to make a life worth living with human dignity.
When we arrive to Slovenia we are placed in the asylum home, where we request asylum. We wait for the decision for months or even years. During that time we only get 18 euro of pocket money per month, sometimes they even forget to give it to us. We can only get work permit after 9 months, but even after that it is very hard for us to find a job.
The wait has a negative effect on people. We are not allowed to work, we are not allowed to study, we just waist our time and don’t even know whether we will be granted the international protection. We don’t know whether we can stay and settle here. At the same time we are not allowed to leave the country, and if we do, we are sent back.
Some of us get the papers in the end, but many are not so lucky. The country denies their asylum request and sends them in the Foreigner centre in Postojna (Center za tujce). If they are not deported, they are released after six months. But their life changes drastically. They can’t return to the asylum home, they don’t get any money, not even 18 euro per month. They don’t have a work permit anymore, they don’t have insurance or the right to social support. They do not have a place to stay or a room to sleep in. And yet, they still are not allowed to leave Slovenia. So, how should they survive?!
Many of these people are tired of everything. Some find someone willing and able to help, but a lot of them do not have that chance. These ones are forced to rely on tactics that would never think of otherwise. Some might resolve to petty theft, some others might sell some drugs. Police knows that this happens, they constantly watch out for them, in hopes to catch them doing something illegal. They ask them: “How do you make a living? Surely you steal or sell drugs or smuggle people. There is no other way for you to get money!”
This is how the society paints these refugees as criminals. Slovenian government says: Look at them, they are criminals, that is why we didn’t grant them asylum”. The media and citizens say: “Look at them, refugees are bad, they don’t deserve the asylum”. The truth is though, that the country had pushed them into criminal by not giving them the asylum and therefore throwing them on the street with no papers and no rights.
I am sure that, had the country given these people asylum and the opportunity, they would all benefit the Slovenian society. If people are given chances, everyone profits. If not, it is worse for everyone.