Khalid Jone is — in theory — one of the lucky ones. He fled bloodshed in Sudan after his family was killed in bomb attacks, and made it to safety in the Netherlands.
“You’re not looking for work, or to start a new life. You’re just saying, ‘I want to save myself,'” he says, remembering his desperation.
But instead Jone found himself trapped in limbo. He is one of hundreds of refugees whose requests for asylum have been rejected by Dutch authorities; unable to return home, they are also blocked from work or study.
“The biggest mistake I made in my life was to demand asylum in the Netherlands,” he says.
As the Dutch prepare to vote in a general election where the far-right, anti-immigrant politician Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom (PVV) are expected to poll strongly, Jone says he fears the status quo more than a Wilders win.
“I’m not afraid of Wilders, I’m afraid of those who are running the system now,” he says.
“If Wilders becomes [Prime Minister], I don’t know how he’s going to run his government. But I know these people, I was with them already for 16 years — 16 years I’ve been fighting, just for little rights.”
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