Asylum center workers frequently abused, victimized

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No image availableNL Times

Employees working at the four asylum application centers in the Netherlands are regularly confronted with aggressive behavior from the asylum seekers. They have to deal with harassment, verbal abuse, threats and sometimes even physical violence.

This is according to the internal reporting system for security incidents in the four centers. The Volkskrant managed to get access to this information after appealing to the Freedom of Information Act.

There are four asylum centers in the Netherlands, located in Den Bosch, Zevenaar, Ter Apel and Apeldoorn. Between 2012 and 2015 employees at these centers reported over 300 incidents of aggression. The actual figures are even higher, as incidents at the application center in Schiphol have been registered on another system since 2013. It may also be that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) did not record every incident.

In a written reaction to the newspaper, the VVD said it is unacceptable that "people who claim to be refugees and fled their country precisely because of violence, create dangerous situations for others here". The party will raise the issue during the next debate with State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff of Security and Justice in the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament.

Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland, the association for refugees and asylum seekers, called it sad that IND staff are confronted with aggression, but pointed out that the figures are relatively low. "It's about 100 cases per year, on 22 thousand people who applied for asylum in 2014, that is a very small percentage". The association also noted that the aggression shown by asylum seekers is often directed at themselves.

Violent incidents among asylum seekers themselves are also common in the Dutch asylum centers. In the first six months of last year a total of 2,741 incidents were recorded.