Tuesday 26 May 2020

Amsterdam, Heerenveen to shut centres for problem asylum seekers

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The Netherlands’ two centres for problem asylum seekers are both to be closed down at the end of this year.

The centres in Heerenveen and in Amsterdam were opened on two-year contracts in 2017 and were each supposed to house 50 asylum seekers who caused trouble at regular centres and needed to be moved elsewhere.

Most of the residents come from safe third countries such as Morocco and face deportation but have not yet been sent back.

In Amsterdam, city officials have said they will close the centre as planned. ‘We were being called out to incidents involving the residents at least twice a week,’ a police spokesman told broadcaster NOS.

The decision to close the centre had been taken due to the scarcity of property in the Dutch capital and to comply with promises to locals, mayor Femke Halsema said. ‘It is now time for other towns and cities to take on this role,’ she said.

In Heerenveen, where the other centre is located, its residents have been banned from several parts of town, including the local shopping centre because of the problems they cause.

‘We have had to deal mainly with people who have no chance of getting a permanent residency permit,’ mayor Niek Loohuis told NOS.

The justice ministry has pledged to speed up the assessment of asylum requests by people from safe countries, so they can be sent back as quickly as possible.

On Monday it emerged that thousands of rejected migrants are stuck in the Netherlands because their home countries have refused to take them back.

Meanwhile, police said on Tuesday that three men were wounded in a stabbing incident at a refugee centre in Harderwijk on Monday night. Two were taken to hospital.

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