MPs want answers on highly critical family reunion report

MPs from all parties have demanded a detail explanation from junior justice minister Fred Teeven about a highly critical report from the children’s ombudsman.

The report claims that the Netherlands is breaking the UN treaty on children’s rights with its get-tough policy on family reunions and that some 4,000 children may have wrongly been refused permission to join their parents.

In 2008, 12% of family reunion requests were rejected, but this had risen to 83% by 2011, the new report shows.

Tougher rules

The report states that while the rules on children joining their parents have become tougher over the past five years, officials have also become more sloppy in implementing them. In particular, Dullaert criticised the cross questioning children are subjected to by untrained embassy staff

‘There is a real chance many children are being wrongly separated from their parents,’ ombudsman Marc Dullaert said in a statement. ‘The focus on fraud has led to an unreasonable policy.’

Children’s rights

The children’s ombudsman, part of the national ombudsman operation, says the Netherlands is breaking UN treaties on the rights of children because it does not respond to applications ‘with speed, humanity and willingness’.

The treaty states every child has the right to grow up with its parents unless this is not in the child’s interest.

Dullaert says all cases involving children which have been rejected since 2008 should be looked at again, a position supported by most opposition MPs.

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