We received great news that the United Nations will stand up for our rights, yeah!
This is the statement of our wonderful Human Right's lawyer Electra Leda Koutra:
"Great great news for "free spaces" across the world. Fulfillment and relief (for now). The ADM Amsterdam stays!!! NO EVICTION TO ANY SPACE THAT DOES NOT RESPECT INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS CAN TAKE PLACE. The Complaint of 60 ADMers has been communicated to the Dutch Government with request for observations that have to be submitted until 26 June 2019. Then we will comment on them.
The Amsterdam Municipality had adopted a superficial "law and order" approach, based on the final decision of the High Court which was ordering their eviction. However, the Municipality obviously disregarded its own obligation, as regional government, under international law to ensure that an eviction is compatible with international standards and showed intolerance to the applicants' socio-cultural minority status and the need for relocation of the whole community as a whole (unregistered residents and house boat residents too) in "a site better than the current one". Not temporarily, but permanently. Taking into account the needs of individuals and the community. Making "consequences' assessments" which take into account individual circumstances, such as disability of some community members. With respect to their fundamental rights, their culture, their need for a space allowing enhanced freedom of expression. I am certain that the Municipality's cynical stance, as also expressed in the Council Meeting of 20/12, contributed to the indication of an interim measure by the UN.
The Dutch Government will also have to answer on the complaint that the space allowed for expression and free thinking is targeted indirectly, in that the "space" for it is either shrinked disproportionately or over-regulated to a degree not allowing such an expression. This tendency to sacrifice creativity before profit considerations has been decried by many rights movements globally. The stance of the HRC will affect these movements too.
It is interesting to note that the European Court of Human Rights had recently not only rejected the 53 ADMers' (in that request) claim for urgent protection, but rejected their application... before it was even lodged. Upon inquiry as to how this is possible, it was argued that according to a recent practice of that Court, an interim measure can lead to the rejection of the whole "underlying application" (as it would potentially be submitted in the future!), if the Court believes that the information it holds is sufficient for considering the case.
The different levels of respect and protection afforded by European and UN mechanisms (in equivalent complaints protected in parallel by the ECHR and the ICCPR) are of wider concern and interest.
The communications between the applicants and the ECtHR were sent to the HRC, which obviously considered that the applicants' protection, on EU jurisdiction, at all levels, has been inadequate."
This is the letter that was send by the United Nations Human Rights Committee: ADM - LETTER ON ACCEPTANCE OF INTERIM MEASURE REQUEST AND COMMUNICATION OF THE APPLICATION.pdf
Statement by ADM residents, as it was read out to the press (at 12.00):
"Yesterday our request to stop the eviction of the ADM site has been honored by the United Nations because it is in conflict with international human rights. This statement is in the interest of all the free-spaces and freethinkers of the world.
For more than 4 years we have litigated in Amsterdam and The Hague for our right to a life of our own and our human rights.
This has not been recognized in Amsterdam and the Netherlands until now.
With the appointment of a green left coalition and the new mayor mrs. Halsema, we expected that this would be different.
For this reason, we were forced to appeal to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations
The answer from the UN's HCR was sent to the city council this morning by our Greek lawyer Electra Leda Koutra.
The Dutch government is currently considering this new situation. We expect more news about this within a few hours.
Today, the municipality of Amsterdam wants to enter the ADM area with the enforcement department to initiate the eviction of our community.
We strongly advise the municipality of Amsterdam to refrain from this until the UN's HCR has issued a final judgment on this matter.
Our wish is that the city and state administrators hold their warm Christmas feelings and not come home from a cold FunFair.
The residents of the ADM"
Around 14.00 Amsterdam' city hall released a statement saying that they will ignore the UN-request. The main points are:
- The judge has irrevocably determined that the municipality must enforce the zoning plan. The site is intended for port-related activities. You can not live there.
- That is why the municipality will enforce the law. Step 1 in that process is that civil servants go to the ADM site to take a look at the situation and consult with the squatters.
- According to the Council, the request to the UN committee does not lead to delay or postponement of the enforcement trajectory.
- The request from the ADM residents at the UN is about whether the sludge fields in the north are suitable as alternatives and comply with international standards.
- According to the Council, the site meets these standards: After all, provisions have been made, such as electricity, water and sanitation, and the level site has been raised.
- The Council notes that the offer to families with children has been made to involve a rented home. The GGD (=> municipal health department) has also provided care to anyone who needs it.
- The Council still has the strong preference for enforcement by civil servants, without police intervention, resulting in a voluntary departure from the squatters.
- If enforcement does not lead to the departure of the squatters, the site will be evicted at a later time.
This ignoring of the United Nations Human Right's Council request by the municipality of Amsterdam is of course unheard of and very worrisome, especially since The Netherlands is seeking another term at this same council!
This is how 'adequate provisions by the municipality' looks like (3 partly broken toilet/shower units for 60+ people, which are not connected to the electricity grid, nor to a sewage system. There's no running water on the 'sludge-fields' terrain at all. Those units don't have any heating and it's currently freezing, even in the day time):
This is a picture of one of our coaches that is stuck now, because it's back wheels did sink about 30 centimeters into the muddy top layer:
Around 16.00 the municipal enforcement team came to the ADM (instead of at the to us communicated time of between 12.00 and 13.00) and demanded access to our terrain. We told them that it was perhaps not the right time, especially since we haven't heard anything back from mayor Femke Halsema about the UN-interim-measure-request
Here are some photo's (by Outer Site Pictures):
In the evening of this same day (December 27th. 2018) we did send out a press release:
ADM (Amsterdam), December 27, 2018
A new spring for the ADM residents?
This morning our Greek lawyer Electra Leda Koutra sent an urgent request from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) to the Amsterdam city council. The municipality is asked to refrain from vacating the ADM site until a suitable location for residents has been found that meets the international standard for human rights.
The UNHCR has given the municipality 6 months of 'defense period'. The ADM residents have 6 weeks to complete their extensive objection.
The intended location for ADM residents is the sludge fields of the former water treatment plant in Amsterdam. The municipality has made a number of provisions here that are not sufficient for a suitable relocation of the ADM residents. In addition, there is no solution for the 10 ADM boat occupants, they become homeless.
From a legal point of view, it is true that the ADM site may not be used in accordance with the zoning plan. The Council of State could not therefore decide otherwise to force the municipality to enforce.
On the other hand, according to international human rights protocols, the municipality must ensure at least an equivalent or better location in case of forced departure from a community. With the offer of the sludge fields and no solution for the ADM boats, the municipality remains seriously in default.
Today the municipality wanted to enter the ADM area with the enforcement department to initiate the eviction of our community. The ADM community requested the municipality to refrain from doing so until the UNHCR issued a final judgment on this matter.
The Commission indicated that it did not comply with the request from the largest international institute for the protection of human rights and still sent enforcement to the ADM site. Given the tumultuous developments of the day, the ADM residents did not think it appropriate to lead the enforcers around the terrain on this day.
The residents are open to a conversation with the city council.
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