Netherlands not to deport Iraqis
A group of Iraqis due to be sent back to their country by the Dutch government tomorrow will not be leaving after all. Earlier today, the Dutch government said it would continue to deport failed asylum seekers to Iraq.
Immigration and Asylum Minister, Gerd Leers, told parliament this afternoon that the situation in the country is not so unsafe that people cannot return. Four hundred failed Iraqi asylum seekers had already returned voluntarily this year.
The minister based his conclusions on a Foreign Ministry report, which states that the situation in Iraq is worrying, but that it is impossible to determine whether or not the situation has deteriorated in the last six months.
However, public broadcaster news programmes reported in the evening that they had possession of a letter from the European Court of Human Rights banning the deportation of Iraqi citizens to their home country. The letter was not disclosed during the the parliamentary debate, which only just scrapped through the vote.
As a result, the minister appears to have changed his mind. A large minority of MPs and human rights organisations wanted deportations of failed asylum seekers to Iraq to be suspended.
On Tuesday, opposition MPs called for an emergency debate to prevent the group of Iraqis from being sent back to Iraq.
Since the end of 2008, asylum seekers from Iraq have stopped receiving automatic protection. Each case is considered individually.
However, Christians, Jews and Palestinians are given asylum without having to prove they have been persecuted. The same applies to intellectuals, journalists and a number of other vulnerable groups.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide