Dutch refugee evictions under fire from Council of Europe

The Netherlands must continue to provide failed asylum seekers with food, clothing and a roof over their heads, the Council of Europe’s social rights committee said in a preliminary ruling on Thursday.

This means the Netherlands may not evict anyone who has failed to win refugee status from a refugee centre or other accommodation, pending a final ruling, Nos television said.


The Dutch Protestant Church made a formal complaint to the council in February, arguing that the justice ministry’s policy contravenes the European social charter.




The cabinet can ignore the ruling, but this may have consequences because the courts take the council’s position seriously, Nos television said.


The Netherlands has a policy of evicting failed asylum seekers from refugee centres if they refuse to cooperate with their deportation. Refugee organisation Vluchtelingenwerk estimates some 5,000 would-be refugees are put on the street every year.


The organisation will help refugees who are evicted to take legal action against the Dutch state, Nos said.



In 2010, the Council of Europe ordered the Netherlands to stop evicting families with young children from asylum seekers centres because this conflicts with the European social charter and other human rights legislation.


The Netherlands has now stopped this practice.


Earlier this month, another Council of Europe commission said the Netherlands needs to do more to tackle racism in Dutch society and should draw up a national strategy to combat racial discrimination.

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