Afghan girl allowed to stay in the Netherlands

20th January 2011, Comments 0 comments


An appeal by a 14-year-old girl and her family against deportation to Afghanistan has been granted for the time being.

A judge in Den Bosch ruled that the latest rejection of an asylum request by Sahar Hbrahim Gel and her family were not properly motivated. According to , Immigration Minister Gerd Leers had written in the procedure that the family had failed to convince him that they would be in danger in Afghanistan because they had become too westernised. He said it had been the family's own choice to lead a western lifestyle and, in particular, Sahar could adapt to living in Afghanistan. The court in Den Bosch however found that Sahar had only lived in Afghanistan for four years and could not be expected to be familiar with Afghan customs and norms.

The court has told the minister to reconsider the case of Sahar's family taking its ruling into consideration. The family will be allowed to remain in the Netherlands for four weeks after the new decision.

Earlier this week, the UNHCR had urged the government to recognise Sahar as a refugee. The international refugee organisation feared the girl would be in danger from the Taliban in her own country as her western ways would be regarded to be 'immoral'. The UNHCR is entitled to make recommendations with regard to individual cases.

Sahar has lived in the Netherlands for ten years and attends grammar school in the town of St Annaparochie. Her case hit the headlines after her school and friends sought publicity for her case to prevent her from being deported.

At the beginning of December, opposition MPs in parliament had asked the minister to use his powers to allow Sahar to stay in the Netherlands. The minister promised to look at any new information but said there was a long history of procedures. A spokesperson for the minister says he will study the court ruling.




© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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