The Netherlands is not allowed to send asylum seekers back to Italy. The Council of State has ruled that the reception problems in Italy mean that there is a real risk that asylum seekers will end up on the streets there, which is in violation of human rights.
The Council of State is the highest administrative court in the Netherlands. The cases in which a decision has now been made concern two male asylum seekers who came to the Netherlands via Italy. One of them had already made three asylum applications in Italy, the other only in the Netherlands.
State Secretary Van der Burg (VVD) did not want to process the asylum applications and send the men back to Italy. something that is allowed according to European rules. Due to the lack of shelter in Italy, the judge puts a stop to it. The asylum seekers involved do not want to return to Italy either because of the situation there.
Within the European Union, the agreement applies that a country may return an asylum seeker to the country where he or she entered the EU. The asylum application should have been submitted in that country. It is possible to deviate from the return if the situation in that country is in violation of human rights. That is the case in Italy, according to the Council of State.
Van der Burg is disappointed with the verdict. “This doesn’t help,” he says in a first response. “Italy is of course an important country, where many people enter.” The Secretary of State will study the ruling further.
The Council of State has already ruled that a judge may not simply return asylum seekers to Croatia, Greece and Malta.
- Bulk requests to transfer asylum seekers to another EU country lead to nothing