Take a look in our political platform by the subject migration. Our first point: “free movement of persons is a human right”. What does this sentence mean for FYEG. What does this mean for refugees in Europe? And what is our opinion about Visa etc.? This year and the next till the European elections (2004), we as FYEG are organising a migration campaign. I would like you to tell about a situation in the Netherlands concerning young refugees.
The way the Dutch government is treating children
On 11 November 2002 a new campus has opened for individual underage refugees (seeking asylum in the Netherlands without family). In this campus there is a regime from a youth prison. These children of the age of 15, 16 or 17 are not allowed to leave this campus. Everything is concentrated on segregation and deportation of young refugees. This campus is the result of stricter policies against individual underage refugees (AMA’s.). “This project is just an experiment”, the Dutch government is saying. Rejected AMA’s were allowed to stay in the refugee centres till there 18th birthday until one and a half year ago. In may 2001 the state secretary from judiciary made a policy were it is also allowed to deport AMA’s to their home country if there is a kind of social system for these children in their home country.
Campus or camp?
The Dutch government has chosen the remote village of Vught for institutes, and this has the function of keeping specific people outside the community. Before, the camps of the Jews, Molucca and refugees were there. Later on, in this village they also put the strictest prison of the Netherlands and a mental institution. Now there is the first experimental “AMA-campus”. The camp is controlled by the COA (A Dutch central organisation for asylum seekers) and is unique in Europe. Before, the camps of the Jews, Molucca and refugees were there. Later on, in this village they also put the strictest prison of the Netherlands and a mental institution. Now there is the first experimental “AMA-campus”. The camp is controlled by the COA (A Dutch central organisation for asylum seekers) and is unique in Europe.
The mission is to force “voluntarily return” within one and a half year. To prevent that they integrate in the Dutch culture they are isolated and not even allowed to learn any Dutch. The whole regime is a copy of the Glenn Mills, re-education and stipulate-prison for youth. Originally, the prison was to be in the town called Wageningen, but this town would not allow this camp because of his closed nature.
There is place for 360 AMA’s in this camp. They are obliged follow a strict day program between 6:30 and 22:30. The program consists of education, sports, recreation and chores. In the Dutch law you are not allowed to keep AMA’’s in prison, and so the called this camp “closed”. The AMA’s are allowed to leave, but then they get no shelter or money anymore. So there is not much choice.
When the AMA’s arrive at the camp they start at the foot of the ladder, they are called “rookie”. They must live with 7 other persons of the same sex in a group. The AMA’s can earn points as a group or as an individual. For example, you can earn a point by going to bed on time. These earned points give you some privileges, like visiting the camp -cinema, going to the cantina. For “mistakes” you lose points and also your privilege. With pass points you can become a “senior”. These have more privileges for example they only have to share their room with 3 others. Until their deportation, they get a report of the result of their behaviour.
This was a summary of some of the circumstances of these young children. What is happening in Europe that we treat these children in this way? I can’t find the answer of this question. All Iknow is that something is going completely wrong…and I like to work on free movement in the world of children and adults. (Source: de Fabel van de illegalen and my talks with Nidos (organization of the guardian of AMA’s in the Netherlands).