Afghan army interpreters to get easier refugee status


Afghan nationals who worked as interpreters for the Dutch army while it was on a mission in Afghanistan are to face fewer obstacles to claiming refugee status.

Ministers have agreed they should be considered a ‘systematically persecuted group’, which means that in principle they would have the right to refugee status, junior immigration minister Ankie Broekers-Knol has told MPs

Until now, interpreters have been classified as an ‘at risk’ group, and had to prove individually that they would be in danger in Afghanistan.

In October, army unions and aid groups joined forces to urge the Netherlands not to deport an Afghan man who worked as a translator for the military for 13 years.

They took out a page-sized advert in the Telegraaf calling for a rethink, after the man’s request for a residency permit was rejected.

Around 120 locals worked for the Dutch as interpreters in Uruzgan between 2006 and 2010.

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