Slovenia Tightens Asylum Law, Will Turn Illegals Back at Border

Syrian and Iraqi refugees trapped at the Greek-Macedonian border protest demanding the opening of the borders on February 28, 2016. More than 5,000 people were trapped at the Idomeni camp after four Balkan countries announced a daily cap on migrant arrivals. Slovenia and Croatia, both EU members, and Serbia and …

(AP) – Slovenia’s lawmakers have backed overwhelmingly a controversial tightening of asylum procedures designed to avert a big influx of migrants into the country.

Parliament voted 47-18 on Thursday to approve amendments to the country’s existing asylum laws that could be invoked if there is a surge in asylum-seekers.

The changes would allow police officers to turn away people at the border or send back those who crossed illegally, but only for a limited period and in special circumstances.

Officials have insisted the measures are necessary, but human rights groups say they violate international laws.

Amnesty International has described the changes as a “serious backward step for human rights in Slovenia.”

Hundreds of thousands of migrants passed through Slovenia last year before countries in the Balkans closed their borders.