Homeless refugees can stay in empty office says housing group

A group of around 100 asylum seekers who have lost their claims for refugee status but say they cannot return home have taken over an empty office block in Amsterdam.

The refugees had been living in a disused church since they were evicted from a tent camp at the end of last year. However, they were ordered to leave the church last Friday.

Housing corporation De Key, which owns the offices, will report the building has been squatted but will not demand police remove the refugees, news agency ANP said.

Illegal

Squatting is now illegal in the Netherlands but the public prosecution department will decide whether the refugees should be evicted. This depends partly on whether the owner has plans to use the building in the short term.

The refugees were each given €225 by the city’s mayor Eberhard van der Laan on Friday when they left the church.

Most of the refugees come from Africa and say they are unable to return to their home country because it is too dangerous.

They have been left with nowhere to live because the government will only house failed asylum seekers if they agree to cooperate with their deportation.

 

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