Refugees call on the IND to speed up asylum procedures

Refugees protesting about the delays in processing their claims. Photo: Refugee demonstration team
Photo: Refugee demonstration team

A number of asylum seeker from the Midde East and Africa staged a demonstration in Wageningen on Tuesday in support of their campaign to have their cases processed more quickly.

Holding placards, one reading ‘No one leaves their house unless the home is the mouth of shark’, the group of about 50 people called on the immigration service IND to take action.

Iranian asylum seeker HD said he has been waiting for two years for an interview date, after first being told it would take five to eight months. He said he had had to consult a psychiatrist to solve the mental issues he suffers which stem from the strain of waiting.

The refugees say they understand and appreciate the financial support provided by the Netherlands but urged the IND to ‘practice what it preaches’ and ensure their applications are heard quickly.

‘Lately we have come to believe that we are forgotten and this make us feel uneasy and worthless,’ the statement said. ‘We kindly request the IND and the relevant authorities take action for the sake of our well-being, otherwise we will not be effective members of the community.’

Last week, the Volkskrant reported that a special task force set up by the immigration service to work away the backlog of asylum applications is not doing its job, with incomplete files, cancelled appointments and difficult phone contact among the list of complaints.

The task force has been charged with dealing with 14,000 cases by the end of the year, following mounting political concern about the lengthy asylum procedures. So far, it has dealt with 3,000 cases.

The task force focuses on people who arrived in the Netherlands before April 1 while new arrivals fall under the regular procedures, and this is likely to mean their cases will be examined earlier.

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