23 January 2004
AMSTERDAM — As Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk announced a special pardon for 2,300 long term asylum seekers, campaigners on Friday announced they were looking for volunteers to hide the thousands of unsuccessful candidates from deportation.
Jos Buis of the asylum foundation Vluchtelingenzorg Wunseradiel in Friesland said the group were looking for Dutch people willing to provide safe houses to the remainder of 7,500 asylum seekers who now faced being returned to their home country.
Buis’ foundation — which is subsidised by the local council, Wunseradiel — is currently putting up 70 asylum seekers in its own centre, located in the village of Witmarsum, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.
“It is now a choice between two evils: people will have to return to their own countries where it is unsafe, or go into hiding,” Buis said.
He said going into hiding would give rise to many problems because adult asylum seekers would not be able to work and their children could not go to school. “But we have no choice,” he told the newspaper.
Buis described the government as criminal and said the work practices of the immigration service IND and the COA organisation in charge of asylum hostels gave rise to situations similar to those in World War II.
In the late 1930s, many German Jews and communists sought refuge in the Netherlands from the Nazis. The Dutch government ordered that refugees found hiding be returned to Germany.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news + asylum seekers