Netherlands can't live up to court ruling to improve asylum shelter: State Sec.
The Cabinet cannot comply with the court ruling ordering it to create a more humane reception for asylum seekers, State Secretary Eric van der Burg (Asylum) wrote to parliament. He said he deeply regrets this but reiterated the way out of the reception crisis “unfortunately won’t be ready overnight.” The Cabinet is doing “everything in its power to realize this as soon as possible,” he said.
At the beginning of October, the court gave the Cabinet a substantial list of improvements to make in the reception of asylum seekers in a lawsuit filed by the VlugctelingenWerk Nederland (VWN). The Dutch State and COA do not meet the basic European standards for the dignified reception of asylum seekers, the judge ruled. With immediate effect, the Cabinet had to ensure that vulnerable asylum seekers - babies and their families and unaccompanied children, among others - no longer had to stay in emergency shelters. The Netherlands also had to implement immediate improvements on many other points.
Impossible, according to the Cabinet and the COA, who applied for an urgent appeal. According to the two parties, it is “impossible to meet all points within the deadlines set.” The appeal ruling will happen on December 20, Van der Burg reported to parliament. In the meantime, the Cabinet and COA are working hard to create enough reception places of sufficient quality, but it is not possible to the extent the court ordered.
According to Van der Burg, it is “impracticable” to accommodate less than 55 child asylum seekers in Ter Apel for no more than five days as quickly as possible. “As a result of the persistently high influx and poor outflow, this has turned out to be an unrealistic task within the terms set by the court.”
It is also impossible to medically screen all asylum seekers before placing them in an emergency shelter within the two-week period set by the court. This is now happening for “about half,” the State Secretary reported.
The court’s requirement to make sure all child asylum seekers can go to school within three months also cannot be met. “Schools and municipalities work hard to offer all pupils a good place in education. In practice, however, we see that schools and municipalities are reaching the limits of what is possible.”