Tension Mounts at Ter Apel Reception Center After Evictions

Residential units of asylum complex Ter Apel. (Photo: Directie Voorlichting / Flickr.com)

Several fortune seekers from safe countries, such as Algeria and Morocco, who have not yet exhausted all legal remedies, are being evicted from the overcrowded reception centre in Ter Apel and put on the street with a 1-year valid Dutch ID card for a year and a 24-hour public transport card. Several asylum seekers let Factrefuge know. “I have nowhere to go. Tonight, I will sleep on the train.”

A group of young men stand on the lawn in front of the entrance to the asylum seekers’ centre in Ter Apel. They come from safe countries such as Algeria and Morocco and hope for a permanent residence permit in the Netherlands.

Like Mohammed, from Algeria. “I have been in the asylum seekers’ centre in Ter Apel since December. Today I suddenly must get out. I don’t know why; my procedure is still ongoing.”

Mohammed shows his ID card. This shows his name and photo and that it was issued by Ter Apel municipality. The ID card expires in 1 year, the average length of an asylum procedure. “Then I have to report back here,” Mohammed says. A friend joins him and explains that the exact same thing happened to him. He too has been given an ID card and train card and does not know where to go. They point to other young men wandering along the field and claim that the same thing happened to them.

Mohammed: “I have no friends in the Netherlands. I have no shelter, no job. I have nowhere to go. Tonight, I will sleep on the train. I only have 60 euros left in my wallet. Without money, we will die here.” Mohammed did not come to the Netherlands for his safety. “I am 36 years old; I am old. I want a house, a wife and children and a good job. I want that here in the Netherlands. But it is terrible here. I hate Ter Apel. They put me outside and I can’t go anywhere while my procedure is still pending.”

Mohammed is incredibly angry. “I spent 6,000 euros to come here through people smugglers. And then I can sleep outside in the open.”

A spokesperson for Ter Apel’s Central Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) says he knows nothing about these conditions and says that it is not COA but the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) is responsible for issuing ID cards. The IND then explains to us that all asylum seekers in a procedure automatically get a 1-year ID card because the procedure takes an average of a year. But in the meantime, COA has to provide shelter. Another COA spokesperson then informs us that they always do but cannot comment on individual cases like the story of Mohammed and his friends. “Those groups of boys outside can say anything to journalists. You shouldn’t believe everything right away,” the COA spokesperson said.

Watch our video report from Ter Apel via Blue Tiger Studios:


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