Verdonk tackles asylum 'inaccuracies'

10th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

10 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — Stung by criticism of her tough asylum policy, Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk has announced she will publicise personal details about asylum seekers who seek publicity.

10 March 2005

AMSTERDAM — Stung by criticism of her tough asylum policy, Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk has announced she will publicise personal details about asylum seekers who seek publicity.

Verdonk caused a stir worldwide last year when she announced 26,000 unsuccessful asylum seekers are to be expelled over the next few years. It has been described as the largest deportation in Western Europe since World War II.

Earlier this week, it was announced that many of those earmarked for deportation had been given the right to stay after a full assessment. Many have been waiting five years or more to have their cases dealt with.

The minister has told Parliament in a letter that some asylum seekers are exaggerating their cases in the media in a bid to stay.

Verdonk said that incorrect information should not be left unchallenged. She intends to bring "balance" back to the date by releasing information about the cases.

She was responding to a parliamentary motion calling for an examination of the feasibility of allowing the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) to make public information on asylum seekers or their public representatives if they seek publicity.

The move has been stimulated by the announcement that broadcaster Vara is to screen a series entitled "26.000 gezichten" (26,000 faces) in relation to the asylum seekers facing expulsion.

Privacy laws currently protect the details asylum seekers provide to the authorities about their circumstances. Citing the need for a balanced public debate, the minister wrote: "The right to the protection of details about personal life is consequently not absolute, but has to be weighed up against other considerations".

Verdonk goes on to note publicity must not lead to the newcomer or the newcomer's family getting into difficulties in their land of origin.

The chief of asylum seekers organisation Inlia, John van Tilborg, told Radio 1 that the plan was a "great idea".

He said releasing the information would make it easier to have real arguments. But he warned that asylum seekers would have to be conscious of the fact that anything they say in public could be countered by the minister.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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