Amsterdam: Municipality wants to evict LVV residents, court grants this in brutal verdict

Tuesday 30 November, were the first judgments in a series of summary proceedings brought by the municipality of Amsterdam. The lawsuits were aimed at legitimizing the eviction of the residents of the National Provision for Foreign Nationals (Landelijke Vreemdelingen Voorziening, LVV). Judgments have now been rendered in two cases; in both judgments the court has granted the eviction claim. This means that the municipality can proceed with eviction as of this weekend, leaving the LVV residents in question on the street. This while the party responsible for the LVV, Groenlinks, again states in its party program 2022 that no one sleeps on the streets in Amsterdam.

The case involves, among others, a 37 year old woman from Eritrea, who has been living in the Netherlands for 11 years. In the verdict the responsibility is placed entirely on her: homelessness is ‘her own choice’. This is an absurd representation of the situation: nobody chooses to be homeless. What actually happens is that after almost one and a half years of shelter and legal screening she is sent away without making a single step forward.

The arguments of the lawyer of the party concerned were completely ignored. In his pleading he states that the participants in the LVV have not done what they had previously promised to do. The LVV covenant that the parties signed states that they will seriously look for a solution for people who cannot return to their country of origin, but are not allowed to stay here either. They cannot meet the high burden of proof imposed by the IND, simply because they do not have the right documents – they are in ‘need of proof’ – but they cannot leave the country for the same reason, because they are not recognised by any other country. The Netherlands has a duty to offer perspective to people who have ended up in such a hopeless situation. Keeping people endlessly in a hopeless situation from which they can never, ever get out is only possible when the human dimension has been completely lost sight of. Rules are applied without regard to the disruptive consequences, as we have recently seen in other implementing organisations such as the tax authorities.

The municipality and the shelters are now free to carry out this verdict and proceed to eviction. On the other hand, GroenLinks has the choice to carry out its party programme and prevent eviction. If the municipality does proceed to eviction, it will deliberately choose to fall below the humanitarian minimum threshold by making people homeless again. This in the middle of winter and in the middle of a pandemic. This also means that the municipality is once again collaborating in the illegalisation of people and denying them basic rights such as shelter and access to the labour market, education and health care. Apparently, the municipality of Amsterdam believes that it is not bound by the elementary human rights as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

A total of 15 people in the LVV in Amsterdam are currently threatened with eviction. A number of them organised a demonstration on 23 October under the name We Are Still Here, calling for: No temporary solutions, but permanent residence permits. But victims are not heard and not protected, and the criticism of this LVV initiative always falls on deaf ears.

We Are Here (Wij Zijn Hier)

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