Verdonk resumes deportations to Congo

16th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

16 February 2006, AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands is to resume deporting failed asylum seekers from Congo back to the African country at the end of the month.

16 February 2006

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands is to resume deporting failed asylum seekers from Congo back to the African country at the end of the month.

Pressure from parliament forced Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk in June last year to suspend the deportations because MPs were concerned about the way returned asylum seekers were being tried by the Congolese authorities.

Verdonk said in a letter to parliament on Thursday that discussions with the Congolese Ambassador in the Netherlands had removed the practical impediments to the deportations.

The minister agreed not to take any "irreversible steps" until 27 February to give MPs a chance to to discuss the decision with her.

Verdonk found herself in hot water last year after she told parliament the Dutch immigration service (IND) had not provided information to the Congo about returning asylum seekers. This was contrary to the rules as it left the returnees open to reprisals as opponents to the government in Brazzaville.

But a special commission confirmed late last year that information had been provided to the Congolese government.  No substantive information was provided but it was sufficient to identify the person as an asylum seeker.

Verdonk admitted during a heated debate in parliament in December that she had incorrectly and incompletely informed MPs on the issue.

Several opposition parties said they had lost confidence in the minister, but she received the backing of a majority in parliament, 

Verdonk promised to hold talks with the Congolese authorities in relation to the conditions for issuing travel documents. 

The Congolese Ambassador agreed the finger prints of applicants would not be required. He also expressed a wish to cooperate in the return of his country men and women, Verdonk said.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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