Expatica news

Embassies ‘not co-operating with deportations’

15 December 2003

AMSTERDAM — As conflict around the nation’s asylum seekers continues, at least 10 embassies are refusing to co-operate with the return to their homeland of rejected refugees, the Dutch Refugee Council has claimed.

Council director Eduard Nazarski was responding to comments made last week by Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, who denied that rejected asylum seekers will be forced onto the street in the Netherlands.

“Those who want to go back, can go back. There is no embassy that refuses its own subjects,” she said.

But Nazarski said embassies are co-operating either reluctantly or not at all with the return of asylum seekers. He said the embassies of Serbia-Montenegro, China, Ethiopia, Sudan, Mauritania, Lebanon en Azerbaijan are refusing to co-operate.

The council, also known as Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland, claims hundreds of asylum seekers are not receiving the necessary papers required to return to their land of origin, an NOS news report said.

The claims are part on ongoing conflict over asylum seekers, sparked after the government announced plans to grant a residence permit to about 2,000 refugees who have been living in the country for five years or more but are still waiting for a final decision over their asylum request.

Many other asylum seekers will not qualify for the amnesty and the minister has requested municipal authorities to evict them from special holding centres and assist with their deportations. Notices of whether people can stay or will be deported will be receive by the end of December.

A group of other refugees who are still in the middle of their asylum request will be allowed to simply wait their process out.

But a small majority of MPs is opposed to the planned evictions. Government coalition party Democrat D66 and all opposition parties have said that Verdonk should first give a definite answer over the fate of asylum seekers who do not qualify for the government-offered amnesty before carrying out the evictions

Meanwhile, Minister Verdonk has denied embassies are not co-operating and said the situation was the complete opposite. She claimed refugees often refuse to reveal their nationality and identity. 

And a ministerial spokesman said embassies only issue the necessary travel documents if they are certain they are going to one of their citizens. He also said 80 percent of asylum seekers arriving in the Netherlands do not have identification or travel documents.

The refugee council claims that embassies sometimes block the return of a refugee because they consider he or she has committed treason.

As an example, he named a refugee from Serbia-Montenegro who received a letter refusing the necessary travel documents from his embassy because he had applied for asylum in the Netherlands. The embassy letter said he had committed a criminal offence, namely high treason.

Nazarski has since informed Minister Verdonk about his claims and also said that the Immigration and Naturalisatiion Service (IND) and the asylum seeker shelter organisation COA already has the information at its disposal.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Dutch news