Verdonk takes over at Justice Ministry

21st September 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 September 2006 , AMSTERDAM — Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk is taking over the responsibilities of Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner who resigned on Thursday.

21 September 2006

AMSTERDAM — Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk is taking over the responsibilities of Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner who resigned on Thursday.

Donner and Minister Sybilla Dekker (Housing, Planning and the Environment) resigned following a critical report into the deadly fire at the Schiphol detention centre on 26 October last year.

Eleven detainees awaiting deportation died in the blaze and 15 other inmates and guards were injured. The Dutch Safety Council said in its report that there would have been fewer or no casualties had Donner and Dekker's officials observe fire safety rules.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende decided not to appoint permanent replacements for the two ministers as there is a general election on 22 November.

Instead, Interior Minister Johan Remkes and Verdonk, whose department is part of the Justice Ministry, will share Donner's workload. Transport Minister Karla Peijs has been given responsibility for Dekker's portfolio.

Verdonk is a risky choice as she will have to substitute for Donner in the parliamentary debate about the findings of the report. The detainees who died were all in the detention centre because the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) intended to deport them. Verdonk was and continues to be responsible for the IND.

Mayor Fons Hertog of Haarlemmermeer also resigned on Thursday evening. His officials issued the construction and operation licences for the detention centre.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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