Van Velzen: 'Emergency relief centres for asylum seekers must remain'

19 November 2009

Van Velzen: 'Emergency relief centres for asylum seekers must remain'

SP member of Parliament Krista van Velzen believes that local authorities must retain the right to keep emergency relief centres for asylum seekers open. Secretary of State Nebahat Albayrak wants to force the closure of the centres by the end of the year, a result of the agreement drawn up between the Justice Secretary and the Union of Dutch Local Authorities (VNG) in the framework of a general amnesty.

Krista van Velzen "This agreement is a real mess, because it will force the closure of emergency relief centres for people who have nothing whatsoever to do with the amnesty," Van Velzen points out. "The centres accommodate people who are in the Netherlands lawfully but who have no right to lodging. That's a strange business: you can certainly be here, but you can't demand shelter and in addition you're not allowed to work. This forces people to survive on the street with all the consequences that brings, including criminality and exploitation.”

In the SP's view, a legal right to remain must also mean the right to accommodation. For this reason Van Velzen believes that the local authorities are quite right to refuse to turn these people out on to the street and to continue instead to provide emergency accommodation.

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