PILP files complaint for aid organizations about confiscation of tents in Ter Apel

PILP has filed a complaint for aid organizations MiGreat and Doorbraak about (ordering) the confiscation of tents from people who were forced to sleep outside at application center Ter Apel. According to the organizations, taking away tents from people who are forced to sleep outside, because there is no shelter for them, violates human rights and is improper.

Since at least July 2022, people have been forced to spend one or more nights, and sometimes even weeks, outside in front of the gates of the application center in Ter Apel. These people had to report there for the asylum procedure in the Netherlands, or were brought to the center by the authorities from crisis and emergency shelters. Due to (deliberate) failed policies of the national government and COA, they had to wait or even sleep outside, sometimes even in the pouring rain.

Several individuals and organizations, including MiGreat and Doorbraak, therefore decided to hand out tents on several occasions. The local government offered no assistance to the group of refugees, but ordered the police and the supervision and enforcement service to take away tents and other camping equipment. The police and employees of the department of supervision and enforcement then confiscated the last piece of shelter these people had, a tent, several times. About this, the organizations filed a complaint with the police and with the municipality of Westerwolde.

The national government and COA did not provide adequate and humane shelter to the refugees who had to report to Ter Apel. This in itself is a clear violation of their human rights and a civil suit is pending about this, conducted by the Refugee Council and law firm Prakken d’Oliveira. There was also, quite rightly, a great deal of public outcry about this. The situation in recent months in front of the application center in Ter Apel is undesirable for everyone, but was inhumane for the people in need. By actively and deliberately taking away tents, the only possibility of shelter for these people, they were pushed over the edge of what is humanly acceptable. Actively taking away camping equipment, when there is no possibility of shelter, violates human rights and international obligations of the Dutch State.

Read the complaint here (in Dutch).