fence around dutch detention center dismanteled

25.Aug.03 - More than hundred meter heavy prison fencing disassembled, after a week of violence the AMA's (minor unaccompanied refugees) are glad with the support, police stands powerless. The campus is inhuman and must close!

This afternoon a group of 60 people protested against an excess of the repressive refugee administration, the AMA campus. The protest consisted of disassembling the fence around the AMA campus, meant to close the ama’s off from the rest of the society. The fence is removed piece by piece. The demonstrators are of opinion that all refugees must and can live where they choose to in freedom.

Since November 2002 there are two, a year long test case, AMA campuses, one in Vught and one in Deelen. The campuses are, according to the Dutch government "sober but humane refugee detention centers", dedicated to return and deportation. However in reality they more resemble youth-prisons then anything else. The AMA’s are subjected at a strict regime based on punishment and reward. Besides that the AMA's are secluded from the rest of the society as much as possible.

From the opening of the campuses the youth's are fighting for their freedom and for a humane treatment. The COA (Central Organisation for relief Assylum seakers) dismisses the AMA’s that speak up as troublemakers and refuses to listen to their arguments. Speaking up for equal medical care, freedom and good education is according to us not more than self-evident. Instead of realizing that these expressions of impotence from the youth's are products of the campus-system, the COA reacted with repressive measures and repeatedly called the police to solve their "problem".

In July the tension in Deelen had risen so high that the coaches, the personnel on the campus, scarcely entered the grounds without guards. At night after 22.00h the guards only entered the campus grounds with dogs and the AMA’s weren’t aloud to leave their rooms. The NIDOS, the guardianship-institution for AMA’s, considered the situation so unsafe that they had the AMA’s transferred to other relief centers. This decision was reversed a few days later by the COA and the ministry of Justice. The youth's, who had tasted their freedom had to return too Deelen. The authorities labeled the difficulties on the campuses as startup difficulties and not as fundamental problems of the campus-system. This view fits in well with the rest of it’s, easily defined as repressive, refugee administration. Merely from the perspective of the lowering number of asylum request from AMA’s, the authorities label the campus a success.

Locking up men is a form of psychological abuse with serious, lasting consequences (traumas) for many people who experience this. There already have been different suicide attempts in the AMA campuses. Perhaps because of the long experience that the government has with locking up of refugees and their (sometimes successful) suicide attempts, the authorities don't see this as a reason for immediate intervention. Since early 1990 the Dutch government is busy with the closing of its borders and the exclusion of refugees. The introduction of the "koppelingswet"(linking al personal information so illegal immigrants and the like can be excluded from participating with society) and the new alien-legislation of 2001 were important for this process. Many people became excluded from basic human rights as medical care, education and freedom by these legislations. An other important part of the administration are the deportation and detention centers that have been (and will be) opened the past years (as at Schiphol, Amsterdam Airport). Just as on the AMA-campus innocent people are and will be locked up without regard for human rights. For many their stay in a detention center will end with deportation to life threatening situations.

In short the Dutch refugee administration seems to be based on exclusion, detention and deportation.

Soon the evaluation of the AMA-campuses will start. With this action we want to show our displeasure and start a discussion on this inhuman refugee administration. We prefer to see the AMA campuses and all other detention and deportation prisons closed sooner rather than later.

No man flees voluntary and therefore deserves to be welcomed and supported at arrival.

towards the center

climbing the outer fence

towards the barracks

inside the barracks

dismantling the fence

dismantling the fence (continued)

dismantling the fence (continued)

dismantling the fence (continued)

dismantling the fence (continued)

playing on the dismantled fence

detained refugees express their approval of the action ...

... and help to dismantle the outer fence

the police did not intervene as 'nothing had been destroyed'