Sunday 18 April 2021

Dutch must continue helping undocumented refugees: Council of Europe

refugees protestThe Netherlands must offer food and shelter to refugees without proper paperwork but can decide itself how best to do this, according to the human rights organisation Council of Europe.

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 turned out onto the street every year. Many of them remain in the country and live illegally.

Several hundred high profile failed asylum seekers are currently squatting or living in temporary accommodation in Amsterdam and other cities. They say they cannot return home because it is unsafe or because they don’t have proper papers.

The Council of Europe last year said the Netherlands should ensure everyone living in the country has food, clothes and shelter and that includes failed asylum seekers who are not cooperating with efforts to deport them.

On Wednesday, the council’s ruling Committee of Ministers upheld that earlier decision.

Senior officials from the two ruling parties met prime minister Mark Rutte for talks on Wednesday afternoon to discuss how best to implement the ruling. The Labour party wants to provide undocumented refugees with a place to sleep and food, but the VVD is opposed.

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