- United States
The Dutch Immigration authorities are facing criticism almost a month away from the Country’s parliamentary elections as Dutch minister for immigration and asylum, Gerd Leers, is accused of misappropriating statistical deportation figures by the Current affairs in Netherland. The minister is also facing similar criticism from the Council of Europe, which is the advisory body for Human rights in the continent.
When Leers took office of immigration minister under the previous minority government he had vowed to solve the asylum seekers issue in Netherlands. Leers had said that those asylum seekers who have been denied asylum in the country will be deported as soon as possible from Netherlands. He had deported a vast number of refugees to prove himself right. But the recent investigations of the issue by the Dutch Current affairs have brought some light on certain hidden aspects of the immigration minister’s asylum crackdown.
The Dutch Current Affairs program titled “Nieuwsuur” provided details of the investigation. It said that many people who were deported as rejected asylum seekers by the immigration department were not refugees at all. The program stated that most of them were those who had been held for possession for things not allowed in the country or were just stopped at the border for not having a visa.
Migration specialist, Han Entzinger, said that the immigration minister fiddled with the figures of deported refugees.
“The largest number of so called deportations is in fact of people who have never actually entered the Netherlands.” Entzinger said.
Although the immigration minister was not directly involved in the program, his spokesperson did quote his response to these accusations. Leers spokesperson said that the immigration department always calculates figures in this manner.
Opposition leaders denied knowledge of any such acts and said that the immigration minister must act more responsibly, criticizing his actions all the same.
One of Labor Party leaders, MP Martijn van Dam, said that Leers is just trying to present huge figures just to show his commitment to his promise.
“Leers,” van Dam said, “is massaging the numbers to create the impression he is deporting as many people as possible.”
On the other hand, apart from local criticism, the Council of Europe is also attacking the immigration minister, accusing him of not observing basic human rights for the asylum seekers awaiting deportation in detention centers. Prior to the Councils accusations, a local Ombudsman had also released a report describing the conditions pertaining in the detention centers.
The Council said that most of the detention centers holding these rejected refugees are not in compliance with the European Union (EU) laws relating to human rights. The Council accused the staff in the detention centers of having an intolerant attitude towards the detainees, and said that the conditions were inhumane for them.
Almost 6,000 people are detained in detention centers throughout Netherlands, majority of which are rejected refugees awaiting deportation. The immigration minister was also accused of adopting hasty attitude when detaining immigrants, to which Leers responded through his spokespersons by saying that he only chose detention as a last resort.
These criticisms were taken very personally by the Dutch government as the country claims itself of strictly observing all human rights and is among those who condemn human rights violations in other countries.
Tags: Asylum Seekers, detained immigrants, Dutch detention centers, Dutch immigration, European Union (EU), Immigration, Netherlands, Refugees, the Council of Europe