Asylum seekers from tsunami area get reprieve
13 January 2005 , AMSTERDAM — Asylum seekers from the Indian Ocean region whose applications have been rejected by the Netherlands will not be deported immediately.
13 January 2005
AMSTERDAM — Asylum seekers from the Indian Ocean region whose applications have been rejected by the Netherlands will not be deported immediately.
Dutch Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk confirmed to national news service NOS that it would be inhumane to return people at the present time to the countries affected by the tsunami disaster on 26 December 2004.
The Netherlands announced last year that it would deport 26,000 people from all over the world whose applications for asylum were rejected. Many had been living in the Netherlands for several years while they awaited a decision.
Some of these asylum seekers have been given a temporary reprieve from deportation, but Verdonk has also decided that illegal immigrants from countries hit by the tsunami will have until March to leave the country.
Return visas for legal residents wishing to travel to the region to see their families will be fast-tracked, Verdonk's department indicated.
The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) is also to speed up the process for people from the region applying for a Dutch residence permit.
Twelve countries were hit by the tsunami, with Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India suffering the majority of the more than 150,000 fatalities.
Many coastal towns and villages were completely obliterated by the torrent of water caused by a quake under the ocean. Millions of survivors are relying on emergency aid, co-ordinated by the United Nations, for drinking water and food.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news, Indian Ocean tsunami