Director Alexandra Jansse exposes the nerve-wracking drift throughout Amsterdam of rejected political refugees.
Jansse reveals the absurdity and bureaucratic pretzel-logic exercised by the Dutch government against the refugees in order to drive them out of the country. Stuck in the “asylum trap” the refugees are dumped on the streets and forced to move from one place to another, without money, legal status and documents. Only a small group of dedicated volunteers keeps them away from the abyss, but even they can’t cover the blatant violation of human rights by the government.
WE ARE HERE is a film about hope and despair that gnaws the illusion that the political reality does not matter.
Close to the daily life and living conditions of the action group “WE ARE HERE”, this film follows this large group of asylum-seekers in Amsterdam. From emergency housing they direct a political battle in the hope ever to lead a normal life.
El Mouthena, Nagi Koko, Raed and all the others in this group are excluded from nearly all public facilities, they may not work, nor can they do any voluntary work. Nothing is possible or allowed. Illegal in the country and without a penny in their pocket they have a daily struggle to survive.
Many of them are once again involved in new proceedings for a residence permit.
Unfortunately there is great carelessness with which asylum procedures are handled and the criteria used in the ‘country protocols’ to guide decisions are debatable. These refugees are victims of the so-called “asylum mess” in the legislative process. In their desperation, the refugees stay put and continue to put the injustices done to them on the political agenda
Eighty percent of the group has been in detention once or more and is put into the streets because they could not be deported. For a variety of reasons they cannot return to their country of origin. The refugees are also not travel to another country, because their ‘fingerprint’ is registered and they are sent back as soon as they cross the border. Some people are in Holland without any rights for more than 8 years by now.
In practice, this means that they are excluded by the Dutch government policy and ‘worn-out’ in the hope that they will decide to leave the Netherlands.
But they refuse to leave. That refusal is expressed in the name the refugees chose for their action campaign: “WE ARE HERE”.
Helped by supporters who are working intensively to help control and coordinate all kinds of things, they are marked by loss and injustice. They even
lost autonomy of their own lives. This film examines how they try to keep their human dignity while surviving under the chaotic and degrading living conditions in which they move from one place to the other.