Adequate support during the interview
The IPA is not very specific about the special procedural guarantees available to vulnerable groups. The law provides that special support is provided in the asylum procedure to persons with vulnerabilities, and that the interviews have to be conducted accordingly, having regard to the personal and other circumstances of the individual, including their vulnerability. If needed the personal interview can be conducted in shorter intervals spread over several days. A child’s asylum application can be postponed for up to 48 hours if there are justified reasons to do so.
If a person is not able to understand the meaning of the international protection procedure due to a temporary or permanent mental disorder or illness or for other reasons, they must be assigned a legal guardian. As mentioned above (see Screening of vulnerability) legal guardians are reluctant to represent adults who are unable to participate in the procedure independently, due to the position of the Migration directorate that a legal guardian can be paid only if they represent an unaccompanied minor. In addition, legal guardians are only trained to represent unaccompanied minors and not adults.
Apart from these rules, no special measures exist in law for the support of persons with vulnerabilities in terms of their participation in asylum procedures. Moreover, these provisions are rarely used in practice. Whether an individual’s vulnerabilities are taken into account during the interview depends on the person conducting the interview. Female asylum seekers often face difficulties when requesting female interpreters during their interviews. Interviews with children are not adjusted to children’s needs, and often not conducted in a child-friendly manner. The psychological state of children is not taken into consideration during the interview and during the procedure.
In addition, the IPA no longer allows persons to be accompanied by a person of their own choosing for support during the personal interview. The Migration directorate does not have a specific unit dealing with vulnerable groups. Although all officials receive training on conducting interviews with vulnerable applicants in practice the way vulnerability is taken into account during the interview differs based on the official that is conducting the interview. According to the Migration directorate, in 2022 four officials have received EASO training on Inclusion, Asylum Interview Method, trafficking in Human Beings and Resettlement. One official received training on Communication with displaced children, Communication with persons who have experienced traumatic events and Introduction to vulnerability.
Due to the lack of stricter protocols, asylum seekers in need of special procedural guarantees may in some cases not be identified early enough or may not receive proper arrangements in the procedure.
Exemption from special procedures
The Accelerated Procedure and the Border procedure (border and transit zones) may also be used in the case of applicants belonging to vulnerable groups. Unaccompanied children’s applications can only be rejected in the accelerated procedure as manifestly unfounded in two cases: on grounds of Safe Country of Origin; and where the child presents a threat to national security or public order.
 Article 14(2) IPA.
 Article 37(1) IPA.
 Article 13(3) IPA Rules on the procedure for aliens who wish to apply for international protection in the Republic of Slovenia and on the procedure for accepting applications for international protection.
 Article 9(2) Rules on the procedure for aliens who wish to apply for international protection in the Republic of Slovenia and on the procedure for accepting applications for international protection.
 Article 19(1) IPA.
 Official statistics provided by Migration directorate, March 2023.