Court Netherlands must provide better care for refugees

Asylum seekers who are in the overcrowded application center in Ter Apel, the Netherlands, August 26, 2022.
Image: Imago

A refugee agency has successfully sued against “inhuman circumstances” in Dutch emergency shelters. Government austerity measures are to blame.

Nemergency accommodation for Asylum seekers in the Netherlands are not humane according to a court ruling. The state and its asylum authorities did not meet European standards in terms of care and accommodation, a court in The Hague said on Thursday. According to the verdict, the authorities must immediately ensure access to drinking water, medical care and sufficient food. Also, children, the sick or heavily pregnant may no longer be housed in emergency shelters.

The court thus upheld a complaint by the refugee agency. As a result of state austerity measures, thousands of refugees have had to live in tents or sports halls under “inhumane circumstances” for almost a year, the refugee agency had complained. Hundreds of asylum seekers were also accommodated for weeks in miserable circumstances outside the completely overcrowded national asylum center near the village of Ter Apel on the border with Lower Saxony – and without clean toilets, beds and rain protection.

Given the conditions, the government promised more funds and more housing for asylum seekers in August. Emergency shelters have also been set up. Cause of the crisis is not a large influx of refugees. This is stable at around 43,000 people per year. But after austerity measures at the immigration authorities and the closure of asylum centers, places are missing.

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