Children’s ombudsman Margrite Kalverboer has called on the next government to bring in new rules to deal with refugee children who have lived in the Netherlands for over five years but still face deportation.
The current amnesty, known in Dutch as the kinderpardon, has resulted in too many children being sent back. ‘Children who have adapted to society after five years are being sent back to their parent’s countries, which seriously damages their development,’ she said.
Kalverboer wants the next government to commit to allowing all children in the Netherlands for more than five years to stay and to re-examine the cases of those who have been rejected for the amnesty.
Since 2013, 1,300 applications for residency permits under the terms of the amnesty have been made but just 100 have been granted, RTL news reported last year.
Children can qualify for the amnesty if they have lived in the Netherlands for more than five years, have been under the supervision of an official organisation and are under the age of 18. Their families must also have cooperated with official efforts to send them back to their country of origin.
This means most children do not qualify for their amnesty because their parents have continued to appeal against deportation.
Kalverboer said this condition, in particular, should be scrapped.
Asked in Trouw if this would not lead to more people trying to come to the Netherlands, Kalverboer said: ‘The national interest might conflict with the interests of the children. But I was brought in to represent the rights of children and there are other potential solutions [to that].’
The amnesty was agreed by Labour and the right-wing VVD as part of their coalition deal in 2012 but has been heavily criticised by aid group Defence for Children and the UN’s children’s rights group Unicef.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation