Asylum seeker challenges Netherlands on strict, limited provisions

Both the Central Appeals Court and the Council of State are ruling on cases involving the so-called bed, bath and bread arrangement - limited provisions and shelter for failed asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, broadcaster NOS reports. The Council of State ruled that the Netherlands can refuse provisions to people unwilling to work on their return to their own country. 

The Council of State ruled in a case brought by a failed asylum seeker. The man asked the Security and Justice State Secretary, still Fred Teeven at the time, to give him shelter and living allowance unconditionally. Teeven offered the man shelter in a deportation center, on the condition that he cooperates with his return to his own country. The asylum seeker feels that this is in violation with a European ruling which states that no condition be placed on care. The Council ruled that while the Netherlands is bound o the European Human Rights treaty, the treaty does not state that the government has to provide shelter and food to undocumented migrants. "If the foreigner refuses to work towards his departure from the Netherlands, the minister may refuse him a roof over his head."

The Central Appeals court is ruling on various procedures involving a number of undocumented migrants and failed asylum seekers that asked Amsterdam to provide shelter. Amsterdam offered them only nighttime shelter, similar to homeless shelters, which they do not approve of.

Care for failed asylum seekers and undocumented migrants caused the ruling coalition quite a bit of trouble earlier this year. The VVD wants failed asylum seekers who will not cooperate in their return to their own countries to simply be put out on the streets. The PvdA wants to provide for them. After days of meetings and discussions, they finally reached a compromise, similar to the bed, bath and bread arrangement. Sober shelter, and those who refuse to cooperate are not entitled to provisions.

After today's rulings, this compromise can finally be implemented. Though Teeven's successor Klaas Dijkhoff still has to make arrangements with the Association of Dutch municipalities on where the bed, bath and bread sites will be located and how it will be financed.