Amnesty 'wrong' on Somalia deaths claim

4th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

4 August 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk has accused Amnesty International of releasing incorrect information over the recent deaths of two asylum seekers in Somalia, claiming that just one of the men had been deported from the Netherlands.

4 August 2004

AMSTERDAM — Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk has accused Amnesty International of releasing incorrect information over the recent deaths of two asylum seekers in Somalia, claiming that just one of the men had been deported from the Netherlands.

Amnesty claimed on 30 July that two rejected asylum seekers deported from the Netherlands were murdered after their return to Somalia.

But in response to questions from opposition parties green-left GroenLinks and the Socialist Party, Verdonk said Amnesty's claims were incorrect, news agency ANP reported on Tuesday.

Verdonk admitted she had details of just one rejected asylum seeker killed in the Somali capital Mogadishu. The capital was considered to be an unsafe place for the man.

The Christian Democrat CDA minister said the man had a plane ticket for a safe region of Somalia, but independently took the risk to enter Mogadishu. Based on the time difference alone, Verdonk said no link could be made between the man's death and the Dutch deportation policy.

The Dutch government is in the midst of a plan to deport 26,000 asylum seekers in coming years, having refused them a residence permit in a recent amnesty. Just 2,300 refugees were granted permission to remain in the Netherlands as the Dutch government continues its crackdown against the inflow of immigrants.

Meanwhile, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service IND said it did not know the identity of the second man killed in Somalia.

But Dutch media had already cast serious doubt on Amnesty's claims that both victims were deported from the Netherlands, indicating last week that one of them had been sent home to Somalia from Denmark.

And Amnesty has since admitted that the Netherlands cannot be held responsible for the death of the second asylum seeker. The human rights organisation also said that an investigation had never claimed that both asylum seekers had been deported from the Netherlands.

Amnesty has previously said the Dutch government should not deport vulnerable ethnic minorities that are discriminated against and persecuted in Somalia. It also claimed that the background of the Somali men was not sufficiently examined during the process of expulsion.

But a spokesman in Amsterdam has said Amnesty confirms that one of the men had been deported by Denmark. It was also untrue that both men had been killed very quickly after their return to Somalia.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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