Lying can lead to loss of asylum – expert
12 May 2006
AMSTERDAM — Asylum seekers who lie in their applications and later obtain Dutch citizenship on false grounds could later being stripped of their status, legal experts warned on Friday.
The issue arose after Somali-born MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali confirmed to television programme Zembla she had lied to immigration officials to get asylum in the Netherlands in 1992.
Under the 2003 Naturalisation Law fraud is grounds to undo naturalisation or asylum status, Loes Vellenga-van Nieuwkerk, of the Dutch association of asylum lawyers (VAJN)said. This can be done up to 12 years after naturalisation.
Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk said on Friday that Hirsi Ali need not fear any repercussions for what she did 14 years ago. Both Verdonk and Hirsi Ali are members of the Liberal Party (VVD).
Vellenga-van Nieuwkerk said Hirsi Ali’s position, as she has admitted lying, gives rise to inequality. “Two different standards are being applied,” she said. The lawyer said people are regularly stripped of the Dutch citizenship, with some cases dating back before 2003.
Prior to 2003 it was only possible to take away a newcomer’s Dutch passport if it emerged they had committed crimes against humanity before the naturalisation was granted.
Hirsi Ali was granted asylum in 1992 and became a naturalised Dutch citizen in 1997. This means she could run a risk until 2009 of losing her Dutch passport for lying. Such cases are generally fought out in court and the Minister for Justice has the final say.
The VAJN chairperson emphasised she is not looking for Hirsi Ali to be stripped of her status. “As asylum lawyers we don’t want that. But we will use this information in cases we are taking on behalf of our clients”. People can lose their Dutch passport for minor inaccuracies, she said, such as giving incorrect personal details.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news