Dan Alexe — New Europe Jan 26, 2016
On the other hand, as the Netherlands toughened its stance on newcomers in recent years, Dutch policy toward asylum-seekers and immigrants has been criticized by NGOs and the United Nations as overly strict.
In an August 2015 report, the U.N.’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination told the Dutch they should meet migrants’ basic needs unconditionally.
The EU’s leading human rights forum, the 47-nation Council of Europe admonished the Netherlands in 2014 for placing asylum seekers in administrative detention and leaving many “irregular immigrants” in legal limbo and destitution.
Europe’s worst migrant and refugee crisis since World War Two has led to a surge in support for far right Dutch leader Geert Wilders, who wants to close the borders.
In November last year, the Dutch high court upheld a government policy of withholding food and shelter to rejected asylum-seekers who refuse to be repatriated, giving legal backing to one of Europe’s toughest immigration policies.
The Raad van State or Council of State, which reviews the legality of government decisions, found that the new policy of conservative Prime Minister Mark Rutte does not contravene the European Convention on Human Rights.
A rejected asylum seeker does not have the right to appeal to the European Social Charter, it said.
The Dutch government “has the right, when providing shelter in so-called locations of limited freedom, to require failed asylum-seekers to cooperate with their departure from the Netherlands,” a summary of the ruling said.
The Netherlands is the eighth-largest destination for asylum seekers in the European Union.