MPs angry as minister wants ‘more research’ on stateless refugee issue


Junior justice minister Ankie Broekers-Knol has told MPs she will not implement a motion to give 11,000 former refugees a Dutch passport pending ‘further research’.

MPs voted last month to give the refugees, who are without birth certificates of passports from their country of origin, a Dutch passport so they would not remain stateless.

The refugees were given residency permits in 2007 under an amnesty but since then have remained in limbo. Last month MPs voted in favour of a motion drawn up by the Christian Democrats and Socialists to give the refugees official Dutch documentation.

However, the VVD minister has told MPs that she wants to carry out extra research into the group before she can take a decision on whether or not to implement the motion. That research should be completed before the summer, she said.

‘Yet more research?’ CDA MP Madeleine van Toorenburg, who helped draw up the motion told  ‘We’ve already got four reports, including one from the ombudsman… These people are allowed to stay in the Netherlands, that was decided long ago. So help them to really participate.’

One of the refugees, Yosef Tekeste-Temane, came to the Netherlands from Ethiopia as a two-year-old. Now 29, he told earlier that he is unable to buy a house without a passport and his brother, a law student, cannot become a judge or public prosecutor.

The minister’s decision is very disappointing, he said. ‘We’ve been waiting for years, the motion was accepted by a large majority, so why is the VVD being so stubborn?’

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