Sunday 18 April 2021

A change of heart? Fewer asylum seekers will be locked up

Fewer asylum seekers will be locked up and those in secure accommodation will have better living conditions under new justice ministry proposals, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.

Sources told the paper junior justice minister Fred Teeven will present the plans to ministers for approval at Friday’s cabinet meeting. The aim is to meet Labour MPs’ demands for a more humane refugee policy.

In particular, efforts will be made to ensure families with children are not placed in detention centres, the paper said.


Teeven plans to introduce a two-tier system: one for asylum seekers who have been convicted of crimes and who cause problems, and one for the rest, the paper says. The number of cells allocated to failed asylum seekers will be halved to around 1,000.

The changes follow the suicide of Russian asylum seeker Alexander Dolmatov at the beginning of this year. He was held at a detention centre even though his case had not been processed properly.

In particular, Labour MPs had called for changes to official policy. Human rights groups have also criticised the Netherlands for locking up so many refugees.

However, Teeven has no plans to relax current policy on refugees who have lost their appeal for asylum but who cannot return home, either because they have no papers or their country of origin won’t accept them, the Volkskrant says.

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