The Court of Appeal of The Hague has rejected the request for suspension of the State of the Netherlands and COA in the lawsuit filed by the Dutch Council for Refugees (in Dutch: VluchtelingenWerk Nederland) concerning the inadequate asylum reception in the Netherlands.  This means the State and COA must comply with the judgment rendered by the preliminary relief judge of the district court of The Hague of 6 October.

In the judgment, ruled largely in favour of VluchtelingenWerk, a number of injunctions were ordered aimed at immediately bringing the asylum reception up to par with the minimum legal standards, both now and on the long run (see here). The State and COA filed an short-track appeal against this judgment and requested the suspension of the provisional enforceability of a number of injunctions. The State and the COA argued that the injunctions are not enforceable within the prescribed period. They also argued that it thwarted further action in an already complicated political-administrative situation.

The State and COA did not request suspension of the enforceability of all injunctions, but only those that the preliminary relief judge had granted with immediate / short term effect. This had been done because they concerned vulnerable asylum seekers who suffer great harm in the current (crisis) emergency locations. The State and COA requested suspension of the following provisions: immediately ceasing to place a specific group of vulnerable asylum seekers in the crisis emergency reception; carrying out medical screenings within two weeks prior to a possible placement in the crisis emergency reception; capping the number of unaccompanied minor foreign nationals residing at ther reception facility in the town of Ter Apel within two weeks and arranging adequate reception for this group; and guaranteeing access to education and play facilities for children within four weeks.

The Appeals Court rejected the request for suspension.  It did so without prejudice to the final verdict in the main proceedings -- the oral hearing which is scheduled for 10 November -- but merely considered whether VluchtelingenWerk's legal interest in the in provisional enforceability of the judgment outweighed the interest of the State in being allowed to wait for the outcome of the appeal. As such, the Appeals Court takes the correctness of the decisions and judgment of the preliminary relief judge as point of departure.  The Appeals Court held that the interests of VluchtelingenWerk, and more specifically the vulnerable asylum seekers whom it represents, indeed outweighed those of the State and COA in maintaining the existing situation. The Appeals Court took into account that the injunctions concern vulnerable groups of people, such as young children, pregnant women, unaccompanied minors and people with a medical or psychological indication.

VluchtelingenWerk had submitted several documents that revelead that the situation in the (crisis) emergency accommodation, where many vulnerable people also stay, is still severely substandard.  Yesterday, it also published its third quick scan on this subject (see here). 

The press release issued by the Appeals Court can be found here.

VluchtelingenWerk is represented in this case by lawyers Tom de Boer and Thomas van der Sommen.


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