ADM eviction: Amsterdam ignores UN request

Last week we reported that, following a years-long legal battle, ADM squat in Amsterdam has been granted an interim measure request by the UN Human Rights Council requesting the City of Amsterdam not to evict the site until the Council considers its residents’ case. According to international criminal lawyer and professor at the University of Amsterdam Geert Jan Knoops, the UN proceedings could take years.

It appears that the UN request has been ignored by the city of Amsterdam and the planned eviction will still commence. In response to this news, on 28th December 2018,  the UN Human Rights Council issued another letter to the Dutch authorities, again requesting the eviction to be halted until the Council makes its decision in the case.

In response to the second UN request,  Amsterdam’s Legal Affairs Department stated that the self-governed space of ADM goes against the municipality’s development plan and that its residents do not have the owner’s consent. The city of Amsterdam also said that:

“(…) the Government wishes to emphasize that it takes its obligations under international human instruments very seriously and that it highly values the supervisory mechanisms under these instruments. In the present case before the Committee, however, the Government has difficulty complying with the request of the Special Rapporteur to suspend the eviction of the authors from the ADM premises for at least two months (…)”

According to the ADM website, currently the local government officials visit the squatters on daily basis, trying to gain access: so far without luck.  The municipality has offered a relocation to a sludge fields, however, this offer was rejected.

“The city claims that the ADM agrees with the forced relocation to the sludge fields, this is a lie”, ADM’s statement reads, “The sludge fields is the only option that the city put on the table. This so called alternative is too small, inaccessible, inadequate and we have to behave like normal peoples. There is no place for the boats. We think that the soil is polluted and is for sure not strong enough, the trailers and other objects are literally sinking in the sludge. The offer of the sludge fields was also never accepted by the ADM. Because of the threat of an eviction, a portion of the ADM residents felt forced to move their belongings to the sludge fields. So the sludge fields are not a voluntary alternative but a forced relocation.”

ADM, a home to some 125 people, is located at the derelict site of Amsterdam Drydock Company (Amsterdamsche Droogdok Maatschap). It was first squatted in 1987. The current occupation started 21 years ago, in 1997. Since then, the residents created ‘the biggest cultural free-haven in the Netherlands’ on its grounds, developing a ‘alternative society based on solidarity, self-organization, mutual respect, improvisation, nature and sustainability’. ADM is known for many projects, such as Green ADM, festivals, concerts, workshops and arts.

The space has been under threat of eviction since 2015, when the current site owner started legal proceedings against a number of residents and requested the municipality of Amsterdam to order the eviction of the site. Following a legal battle, in July 2018 the Administrative Division of the Council of State ruled that the city of Amsterdam should go ahead with the eviction.

You can sign a petition to save ADM here.

 ~zb

Source and image: ADM website