Pushing back refugees

Last update : April 2023

Since May 2018, Slovenian police have started pushing back refugees. It collectively expulses refugees to Croatia. Croatian police violently push them to Bosnia. According to national and international laws, pushbacks are illegal. Croatia will soon become part of the Schengen Zone. Bosnia is witnessing a massive lack of accommodation and other facilities, in certain parts of the country the situation is at the edge of the humanitarian crisis.

If PUSHBACK happens to you try to remember any useful information!

  • police station location, village, town;
  • names of the police officers, name of the translator (if there is one);
  • what kind of documents you signed;
  • date and time;
  • other people who were present;
  • how long it took when police drive you back to the border;
  • try to keep any documents they give you

If you come to Slovenia and ask for asylum or subsidiary protection, the authorities are obliged to process your request and send you to Asylum Home in Ljubljana. But the police does not implement this rule always.

More current information and reports about pushbacks from Slovenia:
Border Violence Monitoring Network
Push Forward


If the police pushes you back to Bosnia after you asked for asylum, you can appeal in 30 days after the pushback. It means you go to court and sue the state because it violated your rights. Going to the court does not mean you will get asylum. The court cannot bring you to Slovenia - you will still have to come by yourself. Whatever the court decides, in the end, the procedure can take a long time (even more than one year).

Going to the court cannot help you directly. But it can put pressure on the police to stop acting illegally in the future. If you can prove that the police pushed you back against the law, the court could decide that the state has to give you some money for the damage it made to you. If you want to go to court, contact legal support (see in the contact section) and explain your situation. You must do it as soon as possible after the pushback - there is 30 days period after pushback to file all necessary documents.


A. You want to go to another country

If the Slovenian police catch you and you want to go to another European country, there are two options.

If you ask for asylum in Slovenia and police take you to camp, you will have an interview a few days after that (see chapter Asylum). After this interview, your fingerprints will be inserted into the European database. It means that everywhere in Europe you ask for asylum, they will take you back to Slovenia. It is a European rule (called Dublin regulation), which says that asylum is processed by the country where you first asked for it. You cannot ask for asylum in more than one European country at once. After six months, this rule expires, and you are free to ask for asylum again anywhere in Europe.

You have to still live illegally in another European country, but you cannot get asylum there for six months.

If you escape before the interview, your fingerprints will not be taken to the European database, and you can ask for asylum in other European countries.

If you don’t ask for asylum, police will take you to the police station and write you a fine (for crossing the border illegally). If you have any money with you, they will make it pay the fine. Police will deport you to Croatia, and from there, Croatian police push to Bosnia. You are free to try again. Your fingerprints will not be taken to the European database, and you can ask for asylum in another country next time.

B. You want to claim asylum in Slovenia

The Slovenian police caught you, and you want to ask for asylum in Slovenia, it is essential you clearly say that. You have to tell every police officer you see that you wish asylum in Slovenia. You have to insist that your destination is Slovenia. You need to tell them you left your country because you were not safe there. Explain to them why It was not safe in your country.
Even if you do that, there is no guarantee police will accept your request. Police in Slovenia is often acting illegally and deport people back also if they ask for asylum (see chapter Pushbacks below). Still, you must say very clearly that you want ASYLUM. If you asked for asylum and police still want to deport, you insist that it is your right to ask for asylum and that they are acting illegally.
Tell every person you see (every policeman, social worker, doctor or nurse, people on the street) that you want asylum. In the police station, repeat that you wish to asylum many times and insist they write it in any document that they give you to sign.
If the police are acting legally, they will take you to the police station and from there to Asylum home in Ljubljana. You will have the first interview after a few days (see the chapter Asylum)

Useful information about the situation in Slovenia (for volunteers):
Since May 2018, Slovenian authorities have started pushing back migrants, which is an illegal practice. Police must process your claim for protection according to international law; instead, Slovenian police send refugees to Croatia. Croatian police beat them up, take their money, destroy their phones and push them to Bosnia, i.e., outside of the territory of the European Union.

According to available information, on average, Slovenian police push back about 600 migrants monthly. The Slovenian authorities are doing such an action based on readmission returns linked to the bilateral agreement between Slovenia and Croatia signed in 2006. The Slovenian police are denying that they are illegally pushing back migrants.

More updated information (2023) you can find in the following document: