The Council of Europe on Sept. 2 published a letter criticizing conditions at the Netherlands’ Ter Apel “registration center” for asylum seekers. Council Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic first addressed the issue in a letter a week earlier to Eric van der Burg, the Dutch Minister for Migration. According to Mijatovic’s letter, more than 700 asylum seekers are forced to sleep outside at the center, and many lack access to clean water, food and sanitary facilities. Mijatovic said these conditions “fall short of even the minimum standards under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.” Article 3 of the ECHR establishes the right to absolute freedom from torture and inhumane treatment. Mijatovic also observed an “overall delay” by authorities in rectifying recognized issues.
Van der Burg responded to Mijatovic on Sept. 1. He acknowledged the worsening conditions and outlined some near-term solutions. The Minitry of Defense will open a large emergency shelter, and new measures aim to provide shelter and supplies for vulnerable persons. Authorities will allocate 730 million euros ($726,570,000 USD) to improve conditions. As a long-term solution, the Dutch government plans to confer upon municipalities a statutory duty to safeguard human rights while providing asylum reception.
From Jurist, Sept. 4. Used with permission.
Note: Dutch authorities evacuated hundreds of asylum seekers from Ter Apel and opened an investigation late last month after the death of a baby at the facility. (InfoMigrants, MEE) Ter Apel houses both the Netherlands’ main asylum reception center and its only prison specifically for foreign-national criminals facing expulsion. (Leiden Law blog)
Photo: Refugees in the Netherlands