De Vluchthaven, de blijvende frustratie van Van der Laan

VLUCHTHAVEN (Zuid), 2 dec 2013 – 9 juli 2014 (7 months)
The refugees were sceptic about the offer of the prison at the Havenstraat, but the Major of Amsterdam assured them they would be supported to work on their future, wherever that future would be. At the end of the ‘project Havenstraat’ however, the Major stated the pilot was unsuccesful because only few people returned to their country of origin. It was clear there was an hidden agenda. It also became clear that the real issue is the gap in the Dutch asylum policy. Refugees cannot go back, yet do not get a status, and can also not go anywhere else. Volunteers made a plan for the refugees to work on their future. This included trauma-care, courses and workshops and assistance with their asylum procedure. It took the gemeente several months to take over this plan and start executing it. In the mean time refugees were faced with guards from the justice department that made it often difficult to feel at home and volunteers who wanted to assist had strict visit times and were obliged to show their ID. After 6 months the city council told the refugees to leave. They refused. In an amazing evaluation it is describes once again why the people cannot go back to their countries and also cannot live on the street from nothing. Also why the 6 months ‘pilot’ actually became a ‘2 months pilot’ because the city council started so late with the promised screenings, assistance and programs. After a court case, twice postponed verdict and appeal, the group left the building voluntarily to prevent eviction and arrest by the police.

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