Dutch court bans government from returning asylum seekers to Italy

Migrants disembark from a ship in the Sicilian port of Catania, Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Migrants disembark from a ship in the Sicilian port of Catania, Wednesday, April 12, 2023 Copyright AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli, File
Copyright AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli, File
By Euronews
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The Dutch administrative court ruled in the cases of two migrants who arrived in Italy and were seeking asylum in the Netherlands.


The Dutch authorities should no longer return asylum seekers to Italy due to a lack of "reception facilities" and human rights violations, the Netherlands' high administrative court ruled on Wednesday in two decisions.

"The Italian authorities are unable to provide reception for (asylum seekers) owing to the lack of reception facilities. Without reception, there is a genuine risk that their basic needs, such as shelter, food and running water, will not be met, which is a human rights violation," the Dutch Council of State said in a statement.

The court's decisions involved the cases of a Nigeran man and a man who claims to be from Eritrea.

The Nigeran man had claimed asylum three times in Italy before doing so in the Netherlands and the other man had not attempted to claim asylum in Italy despite arriving there.

Both migrants would normally have been sent back to Italy under the Dublin Regulation which establishes the EU country responsible for processing asylum applications based primarily on the point of first entry into the bloc.

The two asylum seekers argued however that the situation in Italy constituted a human rights violation and refused to return, with the Council of State ruling in their favour.

"The (Dutch) secretary of state must now consider the applications of the two asylum seekers," the administrative court's statement said.

Italy's far-right prime minister Giorgia Meloni has tried to crack down on illegal immigration in the Mediterranean.

The government recently declared a state of emergency over a sharp rise in the number of migrants arriving. Late last year, Meloni temporarily suspended the Dublin Regulation over a lack of reception facilities.

The Netherlands has also faced overcrowding in its migrant reception centres.

Last summer, hundreds of asylum seekers slept outside of a reception centre in Ter Apel that was overcrowded and "unable to meet the most basic needs of new arrivals," Doctors Without Borders said.

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