Director Alexandra exposes the struggle of a group of 220 asylum seekers in Amsterdam as they mobilise in the “WE ARE HERE” movement.
What’s it like to be stuck in a wealthy country and to live in constant fear of deportation, not having a penny in your pocket while not being allowed to work, or do any volunteer work?Shot over two years, she followed the trail of the pretzel-logic practised by the Dutch government on rejected refugees and captured the limbo in which refugees become trapped – a limbo passionate volunteers try to make more bearable by supporting them on several levels, including the legal one. They challenge the Dutch government’s decision to deny them even the most basic human rights regarding food and shelter.
Drifting on the streets of Amsterdam and moving from one squatted house the next, the refugees fight for their wish to lead a normal life. It is a nerve-wracking rollercoaster ride between hope and fear.
They have two major concerns: Either they must return to countries that are unsafe but declared safe by the Dutch government, or they lack the documents to prove that they have fled from their war-torn home countries.
Eighty per cent of the group has been in detention more than once and then sent back to the streets because they could not be deported.
“I have been in prison nine months. I’m not a criminal. I am only asking for asylum….My country is very dangerous. They kill. They kill children and they kill everyone” – Ali Hamet., a refugee from Sudan.
Their refusal to be ignored and their battle for a permit to stay is expressed in the name the refugees have chosen for their campaign: WE ARE HERE! Jansse: “In my eyes, the dignity of man is inviolable, and the Dutch government should shape up its act and set a better example.”