The Netherlands has been stopped from sending asylum seekers back to Italy because there is a real risk they could end up living on the streets and that would contravene their human rights, the Council of State said on Tuesday.
The highest Dutch court said that two men, one of whom had applied for asylum three times in Italy, could not be sent back under the terms of the Dublin agreement, which states refugees’ cases should be assessed in the first EU country they set foot in.
Dutch immigration minister Erik van der Burg had refused to consider their requests for asylum in the Netherlands and wanted to send them both back.
‘This is not helping,’ the minister said in reaction to the ruling. ‘Italy is an important country and many people arrive there.’
At the moment, asylum seekers in Italy risk ending up in a situation in which they do not have their most important basic needs met, such as shelter, food and running water, the court said. ‘At the moment it is not possible to determine when these problems will be resolved and the transfer to Italy will be possible again.’
The court previously ruled that refugees cannot be returned to Croatia, Greece and Malta for similar reasons.
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