Offer refused asylum seekers decent accommodation and support

28 August 2014

Offer refused asylum seekers decent accommodation and support

The SP, Christian Union and Green Left will today present a joint initiative aimed at improving the process of accommodation, support and return of asylum seekers who have had their applications turned down. Sharon Gesthuizen of the SP was joined by fellow MPs from the Christian Union and Green Left in the initiative, which calls for work to be put into finding a real solution for asylum seekers currently dependent on initiatives from charitable organisations and solidarity groups. The three want to prevent more asylum seekers disappearing into illegality, including by ensuring decent accommodation and effective support for people who have been refused residency but who are also unable to return to their countries of origin.

‘Asylum seekers who have had their applications refused and are able to return to their countries of origin are obliged in the end to do so, but this doesn’t apply in anything like all cases,’ says Gesthuizen. ‘And we don’t want people to have to survive on the street, which doesn’t do anyone any good.’ The three parties criticise the policy under which people who have nowhere to turn, for instance because they have no papers from the country from which they come, are simply thrown on to the street. Joel Voordewind of the Christian Union points out that ‘these people can’t stay in the Netherlands and they can’t be sent back, so they find themselves between a rock and a hard place. There are Iraqis being refused by Iraq who despite that can’t be accommodated here. And Somalis, parts of whose countries are under the control of the Jihadi group Al Shabaab, and who as a result can’t go back, yet who are at the same time being turned out on to the street in the Netherlands. My party finds this an inhumane and dangerous situation.’

According to the MPs who signed the joint initiative, the various agencies involved are currently blaming each other for the way refused asylum seekers are pushed from pillar to post. Advice from doctors is being ignored or not properly followed. Bram van Ojik of the Green Left says that ‘even statements from judges are being regularly and randomly shoved to one side by the state agencies responsible. All of this leads to situations in which people find themselves forgotten on the streets, which sometimes leads to illness.’

The three parties argue that it is from all points of view better if people can be properly accommodated and helped. Improving the situation can be achieved far more readily from a reception centre than from out on the street, even when it’s a matter of returning people to their countries of origin. The MPs gained strength from the provisional judgment of the Council of Europe’s European Committee of Social Rights which recently ruled that the Netherlands has a duty of care in relation to refused asylum seekers where the people in question cannot be deported.

You are here