Around 100 failed asylum seekers who have been living in an abandoned garage in Amsterdam’s Zuidoost district are to be evicted.
Junior justice minister Fred Teeven has written to the group telling them the building will be cleared. No date has yet been set, broadcaster Nos reports.
Teeven said in his briefing to MPs it is clear the asylum seekers want to stay in the Netherlands and have no plan to leave. So far just five people who were living in the garage have gone back to their country of origin.
The others can move into small-scale emergency accommodation scattered throughout the city, he said. Amsterdam subscribes to the ‘bed, bath and bread’ ruling and offers winter accommodation to people without residency permits.
Spokeswoman Marjan Sax is furious about the letter. ‘Teeven is again telling lies. He lies and he continues to lie,’ she told the broadcaster. ‘He keeps saying the people who have been refused asylum have to go back but that is not the case. The asylum procedure is flawed. There is a structural problem with this government’s policy.’
In addition Teeven claims these people are choosing to become illegal but it is clear they cannot go back, she said. ‘Of course people who have fled war or a dictator cannot go back but Teeven keeps denying the reality,’ Sax said.
Teeven has also updated parliament about the situation in other cities. The Hague is currently home to around 65 former asylum seekers, 20 of whom are in council-run accommodation. Utrecht is offering shelter to around 125 in small-scale units. Rotterdam has around 18 undocumented refugees.
The minister told MPs he will continue to work with local councils to encourage failed asylum seekers to leave the country.
According to refugee organisation Vluchtelingenwerk, around 5,000 would-be refugees are evicted from formal centres every year after losing their right to stay.
The Netherlands has been criticised by a number of organisations for failing to provide basic accommodation – known as the bed, bath and bread ruling – to them.
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