Municipalities to provide shelter for failed asylum seekers

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Unsuccessful asylum seekers will soon no longer have to roam the cities at night. According to Jos Wienen, chairman of the committee of asylum of the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG), municipalities want to organize sober shelter for them in the short term.

The cities feel supported by the ruling of the European Committee of Social Rights, which was made public today. The committee, which monitors compliance with the European Social Charter, stated that failed asylum seekers are also entitled to bed, bath and bread.

"The need is so high in a number of municipalities that they do not want to continue to wait until the government takes action", says Wienen. In The Hague, a group of asylum seekers have been living as nomads for two years, first in a tent camp, then in a church, now in squat.

The shelter that municipalities will provide is quite sober. No more than a bed for the night, washing facilities and breakfast. During the day asylum seekers will be on the streets. Only people with a mental- or physical illness will have more comfortable shelter.

The cities are attempting to do what Secretary of State Teeven (Justice) has been forbidding for a long time. Teeven (VVD) believes that people who do not qualify for a residence permit should leave the country. If they cooperate in their return, they may go to a refugee center. Otherwise they must sort themselves out. The ruling by the European Committee of Social Rights makes it more difficult for Teeven to hold back municipalities with providing shelter for failed asylum seekers.

All municipalities want to participate in the homeless shelter for asylum seekers, but they won't all start at once. Some are hoping to pressure Teeven into participating by waiting. Teeven stated in recent months that he will not pay anything for shelter for illegal immigrants. He is waiting on the ruling by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe which is due beginning next year.