Limiting influx of asylum seekers is difficult
VVD party members last week voted in favour of the new distribution law, which could oblige municipalities to accommodate asylum seekers. This happened after Prime Minister Rutte pledged to work on curbing the influx of asylum seekers. To what extent can he deliver on that promise?
‘People who deserve protection should be able to get it’, argues Peter Rodrigues, Professor of Immigration Law at Leiden University. ‘That’s important from a humane point of view. But there’s also a legal obligation.’
The Netherlands is bound by the United Nations Refugee Convention which states that people who fear persecution because of religion or political beliefs, for example, are entitled to protection. There are also binding European agreements on the recognition and distribution of refugees among the 27 Member States of the European Union.
‘European Union law does not allow us to refuse asylum seekers when 10,000 applications have been submitted, for example’, Rodrigues continues. What if there’s no more room in application and asylum centres? ’There’s no “we’re trying, but it’s hard” clause in the treaties. As a nation, you must therefore ensure that the infrastructure and housing of asylum seekers and status holders is properly organised.’