Conditions in reception facilities


Country Report: Conditions in reception facilities Last updated: 12/01/21


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Accommodation of applicants is organised in the two reception centres for applicants of international protection, one in Zagreb and the other in Kutina.

The Reception Centre in Kutina has been renovated and was reopened in June 2014. The Reception Centre in Kutina is primarly aimed at the accommodation of vulnerable applicants, but it also accommodation resettled refugees throughout 2019 until they were allocated to another accommodation place. The Reception Centre in Zagreb was renovated in 2019, subsequently improving the living conditions in the centre.  


Overall living conditions


Applicants can go outside whenever they want, but have to be back by 11 pm. Under the House Rules the return to Centre after 11pm is possible with the permission of the officials of the Reception Centre. If they want to leave the centre for a few days, they also have to get permission from the Reception Centre.[1]

State of facilities

People in the reception centres share rooms. In Kutina, families share a room, unaccompanied children and single women are accommodated separately in rooms, while in Zagreb a maximum 4 persons can share a room.[2] Families are accommodated in the same room, but in Zagreb if there are more than 5 members of one family, they are given 2 rooms if possible.[3] There are sufficient showers and toilets and facilities are cleaned on a regular basis.

As reported by the Croatian Red Cross, after the renovation of Reception Centre in Zagreb in 2019, the overall living conditions have improved greatly

Food and religious practice

In both centres, residents receive three meals per day and pregnant women, recent mothers and children up to 16 years shall be also provided with an afternoon snack.[4]

Kitchens, equipped by the Croatian Red Cross, where applicants can prepare meals by themselves, are provided in the Reception Centres in Kutina,[5] and in Zagreb.[6]

No problems were reported in connection to the possibility of practicing religion. In the Reception Centre in Zagreb, there is a room for Muslim applicants to pray. In Kutina, applicants can practice their religion in their rooms.

The Islamic Religious Community in Croatia, takes care of the spiritual and other needs of applicants for international protection of the Muslim religion, e.g. by cooperating with officials at the Reception Centres for Applicants for International Protection in Zagreb in order to provide psychosocial support, religious ceremonies as well as other activities.[7]


Activities in the centres


The staff of the Ministry of Interior working in the reception centres was generally sufficient.

According to information received from the Croatian Red Cross,[8] their staff provide daily psychosocial support and organise social and educational activities with applicants accommodated in Zagreb and Kutina throughout 2019. The main activities included: creative workshops, sport activities, Croatian language course, learning the basics of computer science, children's playrooms, technical workshops, library, hairdresser, music workshops, intercultural learning workshops. CRC also provided all applicants with the support in reception and continuously provided psychological support. These social activities and psychosocial support were provided by the Croatian Red Cross 7 days a week …

Nevertheless, the Croatian Red Cross reported that it was challenging to encourage applicants to join the activities and then continuously attend them in 2019. Also most of the applicants did not stay for long periods in the Reception Centres as they were in transit. In addition, the Croatian Red Cross reported that applicants were not interested in some activities (such as health and hygiene educations and language courses) and that the local community also organised several activities.

According to the information available on the website of JRS, the organisation provided following types of activities in the Reception Centre: a workshop on “Women for Women”, dancing and music workshops, plays for children, computer room and Info Room where applicants can get information on all relevant topics from the house rules of the reception centre to international protection procedure.[9]

Are you Syrious (AYS) provided support in learning the Croatian language, as well in support in writing homework and learning for exams for children. Outside the Reception Centre, AYS organised various educational workshops and visits to cultural events for children.[10]

UNICEF reported that, at the end of 2019, a short-term contract was signed with JRS (valid until April 2020) which foresees funding for the re-establishment of a child-friendly space (CFS).[11]  Through the CFS, appropriate educational activities for children are provided on a day-to day basis, as well as psychosocial support with a special focus on child protection and effective cooperation with other competent services for the treatment of children in accordance with their best interests. Currently, up to 45 children participate in the work of the CFS daily. UNICEF advocates that special attention should be paid to the needs of children when organising and planning services in the Reception Centres, and that funding should be provided through the AMIF for the functioning of the CFS.

Also, since March 2015, the Centre for Children, Youth and Family (Modus) has started providing free counselling and psychotherapy for applicants and refugees. In 2019, counselling was not organised in the Reception Centres, but in their premises and support was provided by 3 psychologists and 2 interpreters for Farsi and Arabic. One meeting lasts from 45 to 60 minutes and includes all the usual rules applicable to the provision of psychological support, such as confidentiality and the possibility to agree on the topics to be discussed etc.[12]


Duration of stay in the centres


No information on the average length of stay in the reception centres in 2019 is available, while it reached 3 months on average in 2018.

In the regular procedure, applicants can be accommodated in the Reception Centre until the completion of the procedure and a final decision is taken on the case (at first instance and during the administrative dispute). When a final negative decision on the application for international protection has been taken and the time for executing the order to leave the country has elapsed, the right to receiving reception conditions ends.


[1] Article 56(6) LITP.

[2] Information provided by the Croatian Red Cross, 18 March 2019.

[3] Information provided by the Croatian Red Cross, 18 March 2019.

[4] Article 20 Ordinance on the Realisation of Material Reception Conditions.

[5] Information provided by the Croatian Red Cross, 18 March 2019.

[6] Information provided by the Croatian Red Cross, 20 December 2019.

[7] Ministry of Interior, ‘Working together to successfully integrate asylum seekers’, 3 March 2019, available in Croatian at:

[8] Information provided by the Croatian Red Cross, 20 December 2019.

[9] JRS’s website is avaialble at:

[10] Information provided by Are you Syrious, 27 January 2020.

[11] Information provided by UNICEF, 8 January 2020.

[12] Information provided by the Centre for Children, Youth and Family, 20 December 2019.


Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation