Dutch government declares Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago safe for refugees

Dutch government declares Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago safe for refugees

Brazil and the Caribbean island nation Trinidad and Tobago have been declared safe countries for refugees by the Dutch government. The latest revision to the list means asylum applications from those countries can be processed and rejected more quickly, though junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff said individual cases involving LGBT applicants still deserved special attention. Similar rules apply to Jamaica, which is considered generally safe but gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens remain at risk of persecution. Three other countries in South America and the Caribbean – Colombia, Honduras and Cuba – have been added to the list of unsafe countries. A country is deemed to be safe if the justice ministry decides that its people are not at risk of being exposed to torture, inhuman treatment or persecution for reasons such as race, religion and sexuality.  More >

Denk loses €60,000 claim against Simons

Dutch government declares Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago safe for refugees Political party Denk has lost a €60,000 lawsuit against former candidate Sylvana Simons and been ordered to pay her €4,000 for unfair dismissal. Simons, who had been chosen as Denk's lead candidate for the elections on March 15, quit the party just before Christmas to found her own group, Artikel 1. The founders of Denk, former Labour (PvdA) MPs Tunahan Kuzu and Selçuk Öztürk, demanded compensation from Simons for breaching a secrecy clause in her contract six times, at €10,000 per incident. The former TV presenter, who was employed three days a week as a member of Denk's communications team, criticised the party in an interview in the Volkskrant on December 24 in which she announced the launch of Artikel 1. But a court ruled that her comments could not be viewed as a 'straightforward breach' of her contractual obligations because she was engaged 'in political and public debate'. 'She is free as a former employee to speak critically of the ideas and decisions made by Denk,' the ruling said. The court also found that the secrecy clause in her contract was 'unusually vaguely worded'. Simons was sacked by Denk in January, but the court said she had been unfairly dismissed and ordered the party to pay her €4,000 in compensation and holiday pay. Simons's colleague Ian van der Kooye, who left Denk at the same time to co-found Artikel 1, was also cleared of breaching the secrecy clause, but was ordered to compensate the party for leaving before he had worked his notice period. Denk won three seats in Parliament in last month's election, while Artikel 1 failed to return an MP.  More >

Cash set-back for new Dutch government

Dutch government declares Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago safe for refugees The four parties currently discussing forming a new Dutch government will have less money to divide up than expected, chief negotiator Edith Schippers told reporters on Thursday evening. 'A number of setbacks and current issues which have to be dealt with' mean there is less financial room to manoeuvre, Schippers said, after being briefed by caretaker finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem earlier in the week. Neither Schippers or the finance ministry would say how much money is involved. The government macro-economic think-tank CPB said last month the budget surplus would reach €3.5bn this year, mounting up to €11bn by 2021. Despite the negative financial news, Schippers said she is 'cautiously optimistic' that the talks between the VVD, D66, Christian Democrats and GroenLinks will succeed. The first 11 days of negotiations have been well used and the spirit at the discussion table is 'extremely good' she said. Prime minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte has also said progress is being made. The talks will not continue next week as the four party leaders take a holiday break.  More >

'Cabinet talks are tricky but progressing'

Dutch government declares Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago safe for refugees D66 leader Alexander Pechtold told reporters on Thursday he expects the talks on forming a new coalition government will continue after next week's break. 'That's my intention,' Pechtold said. 'If others think differently, then I would like to know about it.' D66, the VVD, the Christian Democrats and left-wing greens GroenLinks have been meeting this week for a fourth week of discussions on a potential new cabinet. Pechtold said that advances are being made on a daily basis. 'It is not easy, but the cabinet could become a reality,' he said. VVD leader and prime minister Mark Rutte said on Wednesday he also expected the talks to continue. Chief negotiator Edith Schippers is expected to make a statement on progress so far later today.   More >

Coalition talks resume in crucial week

Dutch government declares Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago safe for refugees Talks on forming a new government start up again on Tuesday between the VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks. GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver, who pulled out of the talks last week when his mother was taken ill, will be at the negotiating table, although his mother’s condition is still serious, broadcaster NOS said. Commentators say this week’s talks are seen as crucial ahead of a week long break for the May holiday. ‘If the four parties come to the conclusion that they do not wish to work together, they need to break off the talks this week,’ NOS correspondent Joost Vullings said. ‘It would be stupid to have a week off and then say that you don’t wish to continue.’ Edith Schippers, who is leading the negotiations, said last week the four parties are serious about forming a new alliance, even though they have major differences of opinion on some subjects.  More >