Many measures that have been taken by nursing homes to protect their residents against the coronavirus are illegal. Although the Dutch government has called for the closing of nursing homes (visitors were no longer welcome, residents were no longer allowed to go outside), there is no legal basis for these measures. Nursing homes cannot lock residents up without a legal basis to do so. Moreover, many of the measures are not proportionate to the aim pursued, particularly now that the restrictions for the rest of the country are being eased up. This is in violation of the right to family life, and there are also cases of inhuman treatment in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
On behalf of the Client Council of nursing home Stichting Amsta, location Vondelstede, lawyers Liesbeth Zegveld and Elles ten Vergert have held the nursing home liable for the strict measures that it has applied, arguing that the institution thereby violated the human rights of its residents. The Client Council requested that the restrictions would be to ease their restrictions. Stichting Amsta has since announced that it will adjust the measures in accordance with the demands of the Client Council.
Amsta Foundation is not the only nursing home that has implemented too rigorous measures. The lawyers have therefore also sent a letter to Public Health Minister De Jonge on behalf of the Client Council and a number of other individuals whose relatives live in various healthcare institutions. After all, the State called for the nursing homes to be closed, and is partly responsible for the resulting situation. Minister De Jonge was urged to clearly communicate that healthcare institutions must respect the basic human rights of residents and families. You can find the letter to Minister De Jonge here (in Dutch). De Jonge has now said 'he would like to speak with Zegveld about this soon'.