Conditions in reception facilities

Slovenia

Country Report: Conditions in reception facilities Last updated: 25/05/22

Author

Overall living conditions

The Asylum Home is located approximately 20 minutes by bus from the Ljubljana city centre in a rather isolated area, while the Branch Facility Kotnikova is in the city centre. The towns of Logatec and Postojna, where the other two branch facilities are established, are located 30 km and 50 km from Ljubljana respectively.

The Asylum Home was renovated in 2017. The average room surface in the Asylum Home is around 3.75 – 7.50 m2 per applicant, the same as before renovation,[1] and of similar size to the rooms in the branch facilities. Applicants are normally accommodated in rooms for two to four persons. Bathrooms in all facilities are shared. Hygiene and other conditions in the Asylum Home and its branch facilities are generally considered to be satisfactory.

Applicants are provided three meals per day. Children up to the age of 15 are entitled to two additional intermediate meals.[2] The menu is adapted to special medical or other needs on the basis of a doctor’s certificate or other proof. Religious and other dietary customs are taken into consideration, whenever possible.[3] Asylum seekers in the Asylum Home as well as all branch facilities also have common kitchens at their disposal in which they can cook for themselves.

The Asylum Home employs social workers, a doctor and a nurse, who are present in the facility on a daily basis. A psychiatrist visits the Asylum Home on a weekly schedule and is also available to applicants from branch facilities upon appointment. Social workers are available in the branch facilities as well. Medical assistance is mostly organised through appointments at regular clinics and hospitals. Security is provided by personnel of a security company. Legal counselling is provided by PIC and various other assistance and activities by other NGOs. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic some activities were limited in 2021.

The facilities could benefit from more regular employment of cultural mediators and interpreters to help with reception issues and activities, so far only available inconsistently through projects. Kindergarten-type care of children was not provided in 2021 due to the COVID—19 pandemic. The number of staff in the facilities is otherwise generally considered sufficient, although it may be lacking during certain periods of time (e.g. due to gaps in implementation of projects).

In 2021, overcrowding due to the large number of new arrivals continued. Due to the lack of capacity in the pre-reception area of the Asylum Home, the accommodation centre in Logatec was reorganized in a reception centre. All of the families, single women and unaccompanied children were moved to the Asylum Home in Ljubljana or the Student dormitory in Postojna. In Logatec, people were generally fist accommodated in containers for the quarantine period, after which they were moved to one of the rooms in the separate buildings. While the rooms are not locked, the buildings are, and individuals cannot move freely on the property.  In 2021, individuals waited up to 20 days to lodge their applications, due to obligatory quarantine and the backlog of applications.

The medical examination is normally performed before the interview but on account of the delay in lodging, people were also obliged to wait for the medical examination. Before the medical examination was performed, they were in contact with other asylum seekers and employees of the Asylum Home.   After they lodged their applications, they were accommodated in the Asylum Home or one of its branches.

Due to the large number of asylum seekers accommodated in the Asylum Home and its branches, the risk of infection with COVID-19 was high. Preventive measures were taken in all centres. Masks were obligatory and hand sanitizers were installed in all centres. Each person with COVID-19 symptoms was tested including his or her roommates and isolated. Free COVID-19 testing was available to asylum seekers in the Asylum Home and they had to be tested for COVID-19 before they lodged the application or appeared for any other procedural act.

 

Activities in the centres

Many NGOs and humanitarian organisations provide support in the Asylum Home on a regular basis. PIC lawyers are available to asylum seekers for legal aid and assistance in the Asylum Home through the telephone and upon previous appointment. The Institute for African Studies provides special information sessions following the asylum application with unaccompanied children and other potential victims of trafficking. Javni zavod Cene Štupar carries out a daily programme involving Slovenian language and literacy classes and learning assistance. Slovene Philanthropy provides information on the rights and obligations of asylum seekers in Slovenia. Zavod Emma[4] provided psycho-social counselling as well as workshops on sexual and gender-based violence. Asylum seekers also have a room in the Asylum Home dedicated for prayer and practicing their religion.

The Branch Facility Kotnikova is visited by PIC lawyers providing legal counselling upon previous appointment. Slovenian language and literacy classes are also carried out on a daily basis by Javni zavod Cene Štupar, which is the same as in the Asylum Home. Slovene Philanthropy provided English classes twice or three times per week and Zavod Emma provided counselling to victims of SGBV twice per month.

The Branch Facility Logatec, was reorganized as a pre-reception centre, and therefore activities were not carried out in the centre.

One shortcoming observed in the Slovenian system is that pre-school children do not have access to regular kindergartens and families can, in this regard, only rely on NGO activities, which may not always be available or sufficient. In 2021 the child day care activities were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apart from the above, activities are also carried out in the Asylum Home and branch facilities by the social workers of the UOIM.

In the Student Dormitory Postojna, activities are mostly carried out by the staff of the facility; various educational, cultural and sports activities are organised by them in the dormitory and outside. Children also attend Slovenian and literacy classes organised by Ljudska univerza Postojna. Various other smaller activities and assistance are implemented by other organisations. PIC lawyers visit the facility to provide legal counselling upon prior appointment.

Most activities were suspended or reorganized in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Workshops, language classes and other activities that are carried out in groups had to be suspended while other individual activities such as individual counselling continued in accordance with the obligatory preventive measures (masks, distance, sanitizing etc.)

 

Average duration of stay

Considering that more than half of persons applying for asylum in Slovenia abscond – 5,125 individuals absconded in 2021 out of the total of 5,3012 applicants (i.e. approximately 97%) – usually within a short time after the application, the turnover of people in the reception facilities is quite high. Applicants in the regular procedure often wait for the decision for over six months, possibly over one year or longer. The duration of Dublin procedures varies considerably and may be quick or take several months or longer. The average duration of accommodation in 2021 per person was 11 days. The average duration of stay in the Asylum Home was 4 days, in Kotnikova 17 days, in Logatec 7 days, and 7 days in the Student Dormitory Postojna.[5]

 

 

 

[1] European Migration Network (EMN), Focused Study: The Organisation of Reception Facilities for Asylum Seekers in different Member states, Slovene national contribution, 2013.

[2] Article 14 Decree on the methods and conditions for ensuring the rights of applicants for international protection.

[3] Ibid.

[4] The project was concluded in December 2019.

[5] Information provided by UOIM, March 2022.

Table of contents

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