Amnesty criticises Dutch over asylum
23 May 2006, AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands has earned dishonourable mention in Amnesty's annual report for 2006 "for the first time in many years".
23 May 2006
AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands has earned dishonourable mention in Amnesty's annual report for 2006 "for the first time in many years".
The human rights organisation expressed serious concerns about the treatment of asylum seekers and deportees by the Dutch authorities. Amnesty also criticised the tough anti-terrorism proposals put forward by Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner to criminalise the glorification and downplaying of terrorist acts.
Amnesty charged that governments are misusing the international battle against terrorism to damage human rights.
The annual report mentions several specific Dutch cases, including that of Syrian terrorist suspect Abd-al Rahman al Musa. He tried to seek asylum in the Netherlands but the Military Police at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport sent him to the US before he could do so.
From there, he was sent to Syria and has been in jail there for 18 months, Amnesty said.
Amnesty also criticised the Dutch authorities for the speed of the deportation of asylum seekers caught up in the fatal fire at a detention centre at Schiphol Airport in October 2005.
Donner and Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk promised the detainees would not be deported until they were given the all clear by doctors and questioned by officials investigating the fire. Later the head of the enquiry team claimed several potential witnesses were expelled from the Netherlands before he could speak to them.
Ruud Bosgraaf, of Amnesty's Dutch office, said the inmates should have been allowed to remain in the Netherlands for a longer to receive the kind of medical treatment needed to cope with the consequences of the fire.
All 25 EU states, apart from Denmark and Luxembourg, are mentioned in the report.
It also talked about positive developments, including the issuance of the first arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The warrants were issued for the leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news