Dutch MPs back release of refugee details
16 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — Dutch MPs have approved a plan from Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk to release personal details of asylum seekers if they exaggerate their cases in the media.
16 March 2005
AMSTERDAM — Dutch MPs have approved a plan from Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk to release personal details of asylum seekers if they exaggerate their cases in the media.
Verdonk asserts the government has the right to defend itself against incorrect information being put forward by asylum seekers who are dissatisfied by their treatment at the hands of immigration authorities.
MPs said on Wednesday that releasing details of asylum seekers was acceptable if the intention was to correct inaccuracies. But the information must not place asylum seekers in danger.
The Parliament also said that Minister Verdonk must tread carefully, a request the Liberal VVD minister said she would oblige. She does not plan to release entire case dossiers, news service NOS reported.
Opposition parties green-left GroenLinks and the Socialist SP are opposed to the policy, claiming that personal details of asylum seekers are confidential and should not be made public.
The Dutch Data Protection Authority (CPB) is also opposed to the plan and it informed Verdonk on Tuesday that releasing asylum seeker details is "not compatible" with the goal of assessing a request for asylum.
Overseas Development Minister Agnes van Ardenne has come out in support of Verdonk in her battle against allegedly one-sided media reports about asylum seekers.
She has written to relief groups ICCO, Novib and Plan Nederland to say they are not allowed to allocate funds from government-paid subsidies to the television protest campaign "26,000 gezichten" (26,000 faces).
The campaign is a series of film clips being broadcast by public network VARA. It is designed to give a face to the 26,000 asylum seekers earmarked for deportation under the government's recent amnesty policy.
Van Ardenne also said the use to which subsidies could be put was governed by tight regulations and account should be taken of government policy. She said the TV campaign was incompatible with her policy and should not be funded by government subsidies.
The three organisations expressed great surprise at the letter. Both ICCO and Plan Nederland have funded the campaign with their own means, while Novib said it had not invested any money in the project.
Widespread public opposition greeted news last year that an estimated 26,000 asylum seekers will be deported in three years after just 2,200 refugees gained the right to stay under a government amnesty last year.
But recent re-evaluations of asylum seeker cases indicated that almost half of the 26,000 refugees might be allowed to stay anyway.
Up until mid-February, the immigration service IND had processed 8,636 cases and in 41 percent of these, the IND recommended that the asylum seekers be allowed to stay in the country. Some 16,000 to 17,000 dossiers are yet to be assessed.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news