Refugee camp eviction was 'disproportional', says judge
Friday 25 May 2012
Local officials who used emergency powers to break up an impromptu camp by failed asylum seekers went too far in doing so, a court in Groningen ruled on Thursday.
Over 100 people were arrested for refusing to move on when police and officials broke up the camp outside the Ter Apel refugee centre on Wednesday evening.
The court ruled the council had other options to improve the safety of people living at the camp. In addition, there was no question of serious public order threats, the court said.
The camp was set up two weeks ago by a group of Iraqis who were protesting about the government's decision to deport them. They argue it is still too dangerous to be sent back to Iraq. Immigration minister Gerd Leers had offered them temporary accommodation pending their deportation.
On Wednesday morning, the Iraqis packed up their tents and left, but the Iranians and Somalis who had joined the camp refused.
The camp was then cleared on the order of the local mayor because of health and fire risk concerns. However, a lawyer for some of the asylum seekers said the situation at the campsite was no more dangerous than at the average pop festival.