Bed and Board
Bed and Board
The coalition of the right-wing liberals of the VVD and the centre-left PvdA (Labour Party) is to put pressure on local authorities to put an end to their provision of reception and accommodation facilities for asylum seekers whose applications have been refused. In the country’s five biggest cities new centres will replace them, with the sole aim of as quickly as possible getting the failed asylum seekers either on to a plane or on to the streets.
The search for a solution for people currently forced to wander the streets has therefore ended with still more people being forced to sleep rough. The VVD can thus claim with justice that the government’s asylum policy has become even more harsh, and not for nothing does the government describe the new facilities as a preliminary to immediate departure via the central asylum processing unit in the small town of Ter Appel. Contrary to Labour’s assertions, it is not additional reception places, but instead departure centres, which will be provided.
The plans have met with widespread criticism. From local authorities, churches, Amnesty International and the United Nations, this inhuman ‘solution’ has been attacked. The Labour Party must draw a line in the sand: thus far and no further. People’s dignity is not to be bartered.
Everyone understands that we can’t give a residence permit to every migrant. It’s for that reason that it’s important to organise a system which ensures that those who really can return safely do so. But under no circumstances whatsoever should we be throwing people on to the street to sleep in doorways and under bridges. In our rich country no-one should have to sleep rough or look in litter bins for their dinner. Even failed asylum seekers.
Emile Roemer is leader of the SP