Monday 17 January 2022

Court rules against minister’s strict view of child refugee amnesty

A family from Kazakhstan have won the right to stay in the Netherlands under the amnesty for child refugees, even though they do not meet the strict criteria applied by junior justice minister Fred Teeven.

Judges at Arnhem appeal court said in a ruling the amnesty conditions should be less strictly applied when it comes to defining ‘government supervision’.

One criterion for inclusion is that the child has been under continuous government supervision for at least five years. This, Teeven says, does not include local councils.

File

The deportation service had closed its file on the Kazakhstan family – a mother and two children – in 2010 when they were told to leave the country. However, the family remained in the Netherlands and remained registered with the local council in Rhenen.

This, the court ruled, meant they were still in view of the authorities and should therefore be allowed to stay.

Last month, the children’s ombudsman, Marc Dullaert, described the way the rules are being applied as ‘idiotic’ and published some of the children’s stories on his website.

Earlier this year it emerged 3,280 minors had applied for residency permits under the amnesty and 1,710 were rejected. The children of parents suspected of war crimes are not eligible for the amnesty either.

Teeven said earlier he would not change the rules but would look again at 70 similar cases.

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