Charity takes state to court over its treatment of refugees


Refugee aid group Vluchtelingenwerk is taking the Dutch state to court on Thursday in an effort to force the government to improve conditions at asylum seekers’ centres.

The agency is demanding officials bring accommodation up to European standards by October 1, claiming that the care of refugees in the Netherlands ‘has dropped below the humanitarian minimum’.

In particular, the lack of privacy and proper sanitation need improving, as does the provision of healthcare and education for children,Vluchtelingenwerk says.

It also wants an end to the different standards applied to refugees from Ukraine, who can work and live where they like, and those from other war zones.

The court case follows months of problems at the Ter Apel reception centre in Groningen province, where hundreds of asylum seekers have been forced to sleep outside or in chairs.

A new reception centre at Zoutkamp has recently been opened to help deal with the overflow. But this in itself is not a permanent solution for the problem, Vluchtelingenwerk says. ‘Capacity does not mean quality,’ the agency said in a statement.

The case will be heard by judges in The Hague on Thursday.

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