Izbrisani: clandestines in our own country

Slovenia was the first of the former Yugoslavia republics to declare independence in 1991. When independence was declared the government decided to start a modern ethnical cleansing of non-Slovenian people; immigrants from any of the republics of former Yugoslavia (Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina).

Clandestine stateless in their own countryIn Yugoslavia there were three different levels of citizenship: a red passport (Yugoslavian), a single republic citizenship and a residential permit for people physically living in a republic. This was the one that gave effectively political and social rights to people. After independence all the “internal” immigrants were given, without being officially advised, only six months to regularize their old passports. Many of them discovered to be “izbrisani” (“cancelled”, “not on record”) after a long time, at the first occasion where id documents were needed, like crossing a border, renew an expired document or recognizing the birth of a child. In 2004, when Slovenia joined the EU, from the 200.000 internal immigrants of 1991 there were still some 18.000 of them living with no basic civil rights granted. Clandestine stateless in their own country. What makes “izbrisanies” so particular is the fact that they are not a community living in a certain area or city. They are just normal people who had to face one day with the other the impossibility to carry on a normal life.

The reportage was published on the magazine D laRepubblica delle Donne.