People sleep in chairs at Justice Ministry to protest lack of asylum shelter
Fifteen people spent the night on folding chairs at the Ministry of Justice and Security in The Hague. They protested against the problems with the reception of asylum seekers at the application center in Ter Apel. "It was not pleasant, and we slept little, but that also proves our point," said a spokesperson for the initiator of the DeGoedeZaak campaign. The Red Cross again placed tents at the application center because there was not enough room for asylum seekers to sleep, not even in chairs in the halls.
The demonstrators called it “inhumane” that asylum seekers must regularly spend the night in chairs due to capacity problems at the application center. Between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m., the protesters will hand out flyers to officials entering the Ministry. “So that they know what this is about,” said the spokesperson. “That’s how we complete the action today.”
The protest began around 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday and will last until approximately 10:00 a.m. According to the spokesperson, State Secretary Eric van der Burg (Asylum and Migration) spoke to them on Tuesday. He called the conversation “good in itself.” The Ministry is already working on some things to solve the problems, such as forcing municipalities to arrange reception, the spokesperson said. “But that will take time. And the State Secretary managed to avoid the point of humane reception. We are now standing here with this action, mainly because of the crisis with the reception, but there has also been a discouragement policy in the field of asylum by this and previous governments. We want a more generous policy.”
Actie van @De_Goede_Zaak: op een klapstoel de nacht doorbrengen in solidariteit met al die vluchtelingen die geen fatsoenlijke opvang krijgen.— Suzanne Kröger 💚 (@suzanne_GL) June 14, 2022
We moeten snel naar meer kleinschalige opvang! pic.twitter.com/wz7XAdN520
On Tuesday evening, the Red Cross placed another 40 tents at the application of the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) in Ter Apel, bringing the total tents to 50 and total extra sleeping space to 200.
A spokesperson for the COA said that, like Monday night, an estimated 130 people would sleep on chairs in waiting rooms of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND), and people would again be accommodated in the sports hall and crisis shelter in Stadskanaal.
“[Monday] night our aid workers saw that even children slept in the tents, while it became quite cold at night. Children were shivering from the cold. That is unacceptable, and we do not want children to sleep in the tents anymore,” said Marieke van Schaik, director of the Dutch Red Cross, on Tuesday.
Van Schaik emphasized that the Red Cross offers tents as an emergency solution. “But we can’t do this for a long time. A long-term solution must be found very quickly. We cannot shelter people like this.”
Reporting by ANP