Nobody forced to sleep outside main asylum center as new Groningen facility opens
As of Friday evening, no more asylum seekers will have to sleep outside at the Ter Apel registration center. Anyone who wishes can be accommodated in Ter Apel or at another reception location, State Secretary Eric van der Burg (Asylum) told the ANP.
According to Van der Burg, more than a hundred people who were still on the front lawn on Friday evening are now being transferred to different locations. The minister does not know how many people chose to stay outside.
On Thursday night, about 300 people spent the night outside the gates of the application center. The nights before, dozens of people were outside, while many shelters were added in the past week. For some asylum seekers, there was nowhere else to sleep, while others did not want to leave because they feared giving up their position in line for the asylum procedure.
On Thursday night, the situation in the forecourt became unsafe and bus drivers stopped taking people. According to Van der Burg, "a small group acted aggressively toward aid workers." According to him, the people who misbehaved will be removed from the group and transferred to a different location.
From Saturday, an emergency reception location will open in the Zoutkamp in Groningen on a Ministry of Defense site for asylum seekers who cannot go to Ter Apel, where hundreds of people can go. From there they will be transferred to Ter Apel at some point to register for an asylum procedure.
The municipality of Goes will also temporarily receive a maximum of 400 extra asylum seekers in the Zeelandhallen, it was also announced on Friday evening. The first asylum seekers will probably arrive on Saturday.
The crisis shelter will last until at least Sept. 20. In the Zeelandhallen, 320 asylum seekers are already being received in emergency shelters. "We believe that under these circumstances we should ensure that in addition to emergency shelter, crisis shelter should also be possible in the Zeelandhallen," said Mayor Margo Mulder, referring to the situation in Ter Apel.
The municipality has set the same conditions for crisis shelter as previously for emergency shelter, namely that no asylum seekers from safe countries or refugees who are registered as causing nuisance are accommodated. "The police have indicated that sufficient police capacity can be deployed for this crisis relief."
The planned events in the Zeelandhallen will continue as usual, according to the municipality.
Next week, new asylum seekers in Ter Apel will begin receiving a number when they are transferred to an emergency reception location. With that number they can later go to Ter Apel. As soon as they are registered there, they will not return to Zoutkamp, but will be taken to another reception location.
This system seems simple, but according to Van der Burg it could not be introduced earlier because of the risk of fraud. The numbers should not be easily imitated.
Soon people will no longer be able to stay outside the application center, because then there will be a ban on being there at certain times. It is up to the mayor of Groningen as chairman of the security region to issue such a ban. People who refuse to leave risk a fine or be removed by the police.
Reporting by ANP