Hundreds joined the national protest MOVE demo in the Dam Square in Amsterdam, The Netherlands last 18 June to draw attention to human rights violations within Europe’s borders and the difficulties faced by asylum seekers who enter Europe. Migrante Amsterdam, an association of Filipino migrants and refugees, called for equal treatment of Filipino asylum seekers as well as the regularization and protection for all migrants living in the Netherlands.
Speaking during the rally, Migrante Amsterdam chairperson Eunice de Asis said: “We have fled economically devastated countries where it is difficult to put food on the table. We are not here to take advantage of your benefits or steal your employment.”
“We are the people working as your cleaners, nannies, cooks, and caretakers…However, we continue to be without permits to stay and without any access to the fundamental rights you enjoy,” she added.
De Asis stressed how existing Dutch immigration laws such as the Benefit Entitlement Act of 1998 (Koppelingswet) denies migrants, particularly the undocumented, their rights to social benefits such as health care, housing, and employment.
“We are left in a desperate situation due to the Koppelingswet and immigration regulations which make us vulnerable to exploitation by our employers, landlords and organized criminals,” de Asis said.
“We are denied access to housing, healthcare, banking, public transportation, supermarkets and everyday needs of life,”
The demonstration – organized by MiGreat, a project focused on changing narratives around migration across Europe – was attended by members of the public as well as activists from diverse ethnic backgrounds and communities, highlighting the message that ‘refuge is a human right.’
The demonstrators also called for an end to wars, which cause forced migration, paying tribute to the migrants who lost their lives, especially in the latest migrant boat that sank earlier this month off the coast of Greece leaving at least 79 dead and many more missing.