Nederland, Amsterdam, 2014
Refugees from Africa stayed temporarily in an old prison in Amsterdam.
Many refugees from African countries like Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea and Ivory Coast have been refused an asylum status in Holland. Most of them came by land through the desert of Libya and arrived by boats in Italy. They were refused asylum because they could not prove their stories.
After the asylum procedure they have been asked to leave the country again. But as they do not have official papers of their countries of origin, they end up being illegal.
In Amsterdam some hundred 'illegal' refugees were temporarily placed in an old prison on voluntarily basis. The prison was called ‘Safehaven’. They stayed in the old prison during 6 months in spring 2014, and had to leave their cynical homes again after that period. Many of them have stayed in prison in their own country, so they had a mixed feeling staying in a prison room as being their ‘home.’ They suffered from stress and traumatic memories. After this six months period they are still going again from place to place. The refugees organized themselves in a group called: We Are Here, to show they live here, in Amsterdam. (http://wijzijnhier.org). They are still squatting old schools and garages in Amsterdam to survive their stay in no-man’s-land.
These photographs show the inappropriate way of the European governments to deal with the high volume of refugees coming from Africa in the last few years.
foto: Ton Hendriks