The Netherlands wrestles with Syrian ‘war criminal’ refugees

At least five asylum seekers from Syria have been refused refugee status in the Netherlands because they are war crimes suspects, Trouw reports on Wednesday.

A further 15 of the several thousand Syrian refugees were still under investigation by mid August, Trouw says. The figures have been confirmed by the immigration service.

Last year, junior justice minister Fred Teeven said 30 people had been refused a residency permit because of their suspected involvement in war crimes.

However, it is extremely difficult for the Netherlands to deport people with an IF status – which means there are ‘serious suspicions that they have committed war crimes – back to Syria, the paper points out.

The Netherlands stopped deporting people to Syria in 2011 because of the security situation.

The deportation service currently has 180 open 1F files but only 10 people have actually been deported back to their country of origin. Around 60% of the files concern Afghan nationals. The others mainly come from Rwanda, Congo and Nigeria.

Many of the Afghan nationals, some of whom have been in the Netherlands for many years, are considered war criminals because they worked for the country’s security service during the communist regime. Trouw said.

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