The State and COA were today ordered by the preliminary injuction judge of the District Court of The Hague to provide humane asylum reception to asylum seekers and status holders in accordance with legal standards. The case was brought by Stichting Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland (the Dutch Council for Refugees; hereafter: VWN).
The State and COA have a statutory duty to accommodate asylum seekers in a dignified manner, in any event in accordance with the minimum standards laid down in the EU Reception Directive, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. VWN filed the lawsuit because since September 2021, these legal standards have been violated. Since then, a large group of asylum seekers - including many children - have been staying in degrading conditions, with a high risk to their (psychological) health. In these proceedings, VWN is standing up for the interests of all asylum seekers and status holders who find themselves in reception facilities that do not meet the minimum standards.
The preliminary injunction judge specifically ordered the State and COA, among other things, to:
- immediately provide every foreign national who reports to Ter Apel for registration as an asylum seeker with a safe covered sleeping place, food, water and access to hygienic sanitary facilities;
- with immediate effect not to place vulnerable asylum seekers and status holders listed in COA's Emergency Crisis Shelter Guide (including babies and their families and heavily pregnant women) in the emergency crisis shelter;
- immediately provide asylum seekers and status holders in the emergency and crisis emergency shelters with access to drinking water, sufficient and appropriate food and any necessary health care;
- within two weeks provide additional shelter for unaccompanied minor foreign nationals;
- with effect from two weeks after judgment, medically screen all asylum seekers and status holders before placing them in crisis emergency shelter;
- no later than nine months after judgment, to design reception facilities for asylum seekers and status holders in accordance with the minimum requirements for housing and access to sanitation.
VWN calls it 'a crystal clear and necessary ruling' and hopes that the government will now end the reception crisis as soon as possible. It sees itself supported by this ruling by the preliminary relief judge.