Labour MPs welcome ‘more humane’ refugee policy plans

Labour MPs have welcomed the justice ministry’s plans to amend current policy on refugees, saying the new approach is ‘moving in the right direction’.

Many Labour MPs were unhappy at the ‘get tough’ strategy adopted by the ministry, headed by two VVD ministers. MP Sander Terphuis, one of the most vocal opponents, told the Volkskrant he is ‘happy’.

Labour had agreed to support the government’s decision to make it a criminal offence to be an illegal immigrant if the treatment of refugees was made ‘more humane’.


Explaining his new approach, junior justice minister Fred Teeven said the strategy to deal with refugees would remain ‘restrictive’ but ‘put into practice more humanely’.

Nevertheless, ‘I do not need the PvdA to tick a box after my name saying ‘more humane’,’ he told the Parool.

The main measures include:

  • The number of secure units for refugees will be halved to 933
  • Families with young children will only be put in secure accommodation as a last resort
  • People awaiting deportation in detention will be subject to two different regimes, depending on their behaviour
  • Those living under the lighter regime – some 90% of the total – will be given more to do and have more freedom of movement
  • Activities should be useful in their country of origin, such as learning to repair cars, swimming lessons and help with raising children
  • Body searches will be replaced by scans
  • Better information about medical treatment
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