MP resigns from Rutte’s VVD party after “ice cold” approach to asylum seekers
VVD parliamentarian Daan de Neef is leaving the Tweede Kamer because of his party’s attitude to the current crisis in reception for asylum seekers. On Twitter, he said he had hoped for humanity but instead got an “ice-cold” response.
“I had counted on humanity after a week in which a three-month-old baby died in Ter Apel and Doctors without Borders spoke of an emergency. But compassion has not been forthcoming, and an ice-cold approach took its place,” De Neef said. “I cannot and will not defend this.”
De Neef will therefore give up his seat in parliament and resign from the VVD after 18 years of membership. “The VVD is simply not my party anymore.”
The situation at the application center in Ter Apel has become increasingly dire in recent weeks. Last week, 700 people slept outside several nights in a row, and Doctors without Borders started offering medical and mental health assistance at the center - the first time ever the aid organization has intervened in the Netherlands. A 3-month-old baby died at the application center, and aid workers rushed two asylum seekers two the hospital. One man had a heart attack. The other has diabetes and hasn’t had access to insulin in months.
On Friday, the Cabinet announced measures to address the issue, including limiting the number of asylum seekers who can come to the Netherlands. For example, by changing the rules for family reunification.
The government only wants to allow asylum seekers’ families to join them after their application has been granted and they have a home. The waiting time for refugees to get a home and move out of the asylum shelter can run up to over a year. Children’s Ombudsman Margrite Kalverboer recently pointed out that this violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Sophie Hermans, the VVD faction leader in the Tweede Kamer, told NOS that the VVD party members who work on the asylum policy do their work with compassion. “I regret his view of the careful and balanced agreements that were made about asylum last week,” she said.