A Short Report From the NoBorder Kitchen Team RIGONCE/BREZICE/DOBOVA 28/10/15

Rigonce 2

We're a group of independent European activists supporting refugees on the Croatian–Slovenian border. This brief report is intended to inform about the inhumane conditions people endure in military-controlled detention camps set out in the open fields.




Refugees told us they were held here for 2 or 3 days staying outside without any shelter or blankets. The authorities didn't provide enough food for them. Only one meal a day consisted of one slice of bread and some water is available per person. Everyone – including lots of children has to wait in the cold before the buses arrive to pick them up (at 6 AM the temperature here is as low as 3° С). People burn plastic to get warm.


When asked about the situation in the camp, one of the officials, Sascha, told us that in his opinion everything is under control. He also claimed that people are not hungry or cold, there's enough food available and no help is needed meanwhile the fires made from plastic rubbish were seen everywhere around us.


Sascha also didn't feel it is necessary to provide his full name and suddenly asked the cops to take us away. The refugees are guarded by military and riot police, multiple armoured vehicles are scattered around the site. The media and activists not registered as official Red Cross or Caritas volunteers are not allowed within 200 meters of the camp. That's why we weren't able to distribute food there anymore.




The place is basically a field crowded with cops. No infrastructure is present except some portable toilets and a few blankets. It's a spot where the refugees can rest for a while and then continue walking to buses for 1 km. People try to get warm by burning plastic rubbish. No official NGO structure could be found anywhere other than some UNHCR people walking around. We as an independent volunteering group were able to distribute hot food, potable water and clothes.


No more groups of refugees had arrived in Rigonce since yesterday afternoon. The officials said the trains will go directly to the Austrian border from now on. However, if the trains become overcrowded some people would have to wait at Regonce until more transportation is available.




Refugees are held outside with only a few tents and blankets available. Yesterday the UNHCR storage room was full but today people are extremely hungry and desperately claiming for food. We managed to serve warm meals with the help of a local NGO starting yesterday and up until this morning. Then the refugees started revolting against the abject conditions only to be fired upon with tear gas (including on children) so the riots were quelled brutally. The scene was filmed by one of the activists. He was later searched by the police and due to this occasion we were banned from the camp not being able to give out any more food.


This is just a sneek peak on the disturbing scenes taking place along the so-called Balkan route. Governments are attempting a very strict and militant approach. It gets harder and harder to support the refugees directly by serving food and providing an independent view. Government structures as well as NGOs are trying to supress, control, and criminalize independent support initiatives. They would not allow any empowering ways to support the refugees who are seen as a faceless crowd that must be controlled and treated as outlaws. There's no place for solidarity and even the basic approaches of it are being prevented. However, we're commited to continue with our initiative for as long as there are people who need support!


Further information is available at:




Our solidarity stands strong against their isolationist policy! Ain't no border fence too high!