IND ‘using forged deportation documents’
12 January 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) is using forged passports and invalid travel documents when deporting rejected asylum seekers, especially Somali refugees, a university academic has claimed.
Pieter Boeles, a professor of immigration law at Leiden University, said the IND was using so-called EU laissez-passers — a travel document used especially in lieu of a passport — in deporting the refugees. But he said only the Foreign Affairs Ministry and not the Justice Ministry (which includes the IND) may issue such documents.
Boeles said this amounted to illegal practices, claiming that the travel passes were being drawn up by those unauthorised to do so. The passes had the appearance of being valid EU documents, but were in instead “fantasy documents”.
A European Union laissez-passer document can only be used once for a journey between point A and B. Somalia does not have a central government authority that can issue travel documents via its embassies.
The professor said the IND-issued laissez-passer documents can cause problems for deported refugees in Somalia. According to one Amsterdam lawyer, one of his clients was deported from the Somali province of Puntland for being in possession of an invalid EU document.
But an IND spokesman said judges regularly check up on deportation procedures, a process that also involves the examination of travel documents. He said a judge has stated that the travel documents are legal, public news service NOS reported.
Despite his assertions though, opposition parties Labour PvdA and the Socialist party have indicated they will clarification in the Lower House of Parliament, the Tweede Kamer. The PvdA said the IND was using “dubious practices”.
Meanwhile, the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht have agreed to evict rejected asylum seekers and have3 them placed in so-called deportation centres, where they will stay until removed from the country.
The four large cities had initially refused to co-operate with Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk to prevent the refugees from becoming homeless. But following the agreement, the minister will present a detailed plan to Parliament later this month.
A Justice Minister spokesman said it was not yet known where or how many deportation centres would be created, news agency ANP reported on Friday.
About 2,000 long-term refugees who have been in the Netherlands five years or more are being granted residence permits under a government amnesty, but many others who fail to satisfy the amnesty’s strict conditions will be deported.
The nation’s remaining asylum seekers who have not yet been given an official answer to their asylum request will be allowed to simply wait out the application procedure.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news