Refugees' org. to sue Dutch gov't if it doesn't sort out asylum shelter before Aug. 1
Refugees’ organization Vlucteligenwerk Nederland gave the Dutch State an ultimatum. Ensure enough reception places for asylum seekers before August 1, or the organization will take the matter to court, NOS reports.
According to Vluchtelingenwerk, the Netherlands violates the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). The lack of space at asylum shelters means asylum seekers don’t have any privacy, decent accommodation, or clean sanitary facilities. And this is not a result of unforeseen circumstances but of administrative incapacity, the organization said.
“There is no shortage of solutions for the shortage of shelter places,” Vluchtelingenwerk said, pointing out that the Netherlands managed to arrange 50,000 places for Ukrainian refugees in a short period. The fact that the Netherlands treats Ukrainian refugees differently from other asylum seekers is clearly discrimination and, therefore, illegal, Vulchtelingwerk said.
If the reception locations don’t meet the minimum requirements - a bedroom per family, a bed with a mattress and clean bedding, three meals a day, and protection against the elements - by August 1, Vulchtelingenwerk will file a lawsuit against the State and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA.)
The problems with asylum shelter in the Netherlands are most visible at the registration center in Ter Apel, where all asylum seekers must first go to submit their application. The idea is that they then move to an asylum shelter to await the processing of their application, but the shelters are full. That is mainly because refugees - asylum seekers whose application succeeded and have a residency permit for the Netherlands - can’t move out of the shelter due to the housing shortage in the Netherlands.
As a result, Ter Apel is overflowing. Over the past months, asylum seekers regularly had to sleep on chairs in waiting areas. The Red Cross even had to erect tents a few times to prevent people from having to sleep outside. Other emergency shelters were set up throughout the country, but these proved insufficient time and again.
Responsible State Secretary Eric van der Burg announced on Wednesday that the government plans to open a second registration center in Noordoostpolder with space for 250 to 300 people. But according to NRC, the municipality of Noordoostpolder is vehemently against this.
The registration center would open in the town of Bant (1,300 residents), near an existing asylum center in the town of Luttelgeest (2,700 residents). According to the municipality, there is no support among locals for opening the registration center.
Sources told NRC that if Noordoostpolder doesn’t agree to open the registration center, the national government is prepared to force the issue.