Unicef begins Google drive against detentions

11th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

11 April 2006, AMSTERDAM — The Dutch branch of the UN's Children's Fund (Unicef) has taken to the internet to highlight its campaign against the policy in the Netherlands of locking up the children of families awaiting deportation.

11 April 2006

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch branch of the UN's Children's Fund (Unicef) has taken to the internet to highlight its campaign against the policy in the Netherlands of locking up the children of families awaiting deportation.

Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk has tightened Dutch immigration policy; rejected asylum seekers and illegal immigrants risk being sent to a detention centre to await expulsion. It is estimated 50 children are being held.

People who type 'Verdonk' into the Google search engine generate pages of results in the normal way. In addition, a sponsored link by Unicef appears in the right-hand corner of the page.

Entitled 'Verdonk', the description reads: "Onschuldige kinderen horen niet in
een cel. Teken de petitie". This translates as "innocent children don't belong in a cell. Sign the petition". The link leads to a petition on Unicef's Dutch site.

The Dutch branch plans to add the search words 'Donner', 'uitzetting' (expulsion) and 'justitie' (Justice) to the Google campaign shortly. Verdonk's Immigration department is part of the Justice Ministry headed by Minister Piet Hein Donner.

A Unicef spokesperson said the campaign is not directly personally against Verdonk and Donner, but rather against their policy.

Several organisations, including Unicef, Amnesty International, refugee group VluchtelingenWerk, Defence for Children and the Raad van Kerken (Council of Churches) have been collecting signatures for several months for the petition against the detention policy. Unicef hopes the Google advert campaign will increase public awareness for the petition.

The organisations say it is unacceptable and contrary to international agreements that an estimated 50 children are currently in detention centres. Some 19,000 people have signed the petition.

Unicef is not paying for the sponsored link and it is allowed to place a maximum of USD 1,000 worth of words on Google every day.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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