Monday 05 December 2022

Detention policy criticised, people locked up too long says official report

Failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants awaiting deportation are being held too long in custody, according to the government’s foreigner affairs commission.

The report, due to be presented to junior justice minister Fred Teeven later on Wednesday, has been leaked to RTL news.

The commission states that foreigners are often locked up because the deportation service DT&V hopes that rejected asylum seekers will cooperate with their deportation.

This also applies to people whose claims for refugee status have been rejected but who cannot be sent back because they don’t have papers or their country of origin won’t accept them.

Mistakes

Officials often do not wait for lawyers to be alerted, the report says. In addition, the deportation and immigration service files are not coordinated, meaning information gets left out and mistakes are made.

The commission recommends that files are checked on a monthly basis to ensure no-one has been wrongly locked up. It also says the police should not be allowed to act unless a lawyer is present.

Groups of people awaiting deportation have gone on hunger strike in Rotterdam and at Schiphol airport because of their treatment. According to news agency ANP, they spend 16 hours a day in their cell, are handcuffed during visits to court or hospital and have little to occupy their time.

Suicide

Russian dissident Aleksander Dolmatov killed himself earlier this year when wrongly held in a deportation centre.

RTL correspondent Fons Lambie says Teeven’s reaction to the report will be crucial in ensuring Labour MPs back his plan to make it a criminal offence to live in the Netherlands without proper papers.

Labour MPs have called for a more humane policy towards illegal immigrants as a condition of their support.

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