Netherlands to review Greek asylum applications

21st January 2011, Comments 0 comments


The Dutch authorities are likely to begin reviewing asylum applications submitted by people who reached the Netherlands after entering the EU through Greece, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Asylum Minister Gerd Leers says in response to a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.

The court ruled that Belgium should not have sent an Afghan refugee back to Greece, where he had entered the bloc. Under EU rules, asylum applications must be completed in the countries where the asylum seekers enter the bloc. The judges concluded that Belgium's decision to expel the man to Greece exposed him to inhumane and humiliating treatment by the Greek authorities. Greek detention facilities, the court notes, are overcrowded while there is a large backlog in asylum applications.

Some 2,000 asylum seekers in the Netherlands entered the EU through Greece. The Dutch authorities had already decided not to send them back to Greece prior to the court's ruling.

Their asylum applications are now likely to be reviewed by the Dutch authorities. Minister Leers, however, first wants to consult EU colleagues about the best way of tackling the problem.

The Dutch authorities, the spokeswoman said, will also consult other EU countries about ways of helping Greece receive the asylum seekers and process their applications. The EU is already assisting Greece to improve its border patrols and asylum procedures by sending military police and interpreters.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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