Children’s ombudsman slams IND over Somali girls aged 9, 10 and 11

The immigration service IND put three young girls at risk by forcing them to travel to Ethiopia for a DNA test, children’s ombudsman Marc Dullaert says in the NRC.

The three girls, aged 9, 10 and 11, lived in Yemen but under IND rules had to go to Ethiopia for tests and papers before they could be reunited with their Somali mother in the Netherlands.

The aim of the DNA test was to establish the girls were who they claimed to be. Dullaert says in a report the girls were terrified during the journey and ran into unnecessary dangers.

They were escorted on false passports by an unknown woman and the journey involved a four-day sea crossing. They were also left to fend for themselves once arriving in Ethiopia.

Strict rules

They could, however, have undergone a DNA test in Yemen, the ombudsman said. He criticised the IND for failing to look for alternatives to a trip to Africa.

The girls have since been reunited with their mother in the Netherlands.

The ombudsman said he is concerned that the strict Dutch rules mean some children are being denied the right to live with their parents.

MPs are due to debate family reunion legislation on Wednesday.

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