Tuesday 21 March 2023

Dutch to carry out body searches, biometric registration of refugees

netherlands borderThe registration and identification of asylum seekers arriving in the Netherlands is to be tightened up in the very short term, prime minister Mark Rutte said in a briefing to MPs on Tuesday.

All asylum seekers will be searched, as will their baggage, on arrival, Rutte said. Everyone’s biometric details will also be included on a special register and police will have the power to check mobile phones and tablets for documents and other information.

The extra checks were already being planned but are being brought in more quickly because of the terrorist attacks in Paris, Rutte said. One of the attackers may have come from Syria by posing as a refugee, although this is still unconfirmed.

Rutte also reiterated that the threat level in the Netherlands remains ‘substantial’ and that there are no concrete indications to suggest attacks have been planned on Dutch targets.

While there have been arrests in connection with the attacks in both Belgium and France, ‘no direct link’ has been establlished between the Paris terrorists and jihadis or jihadi networks in the Netherlands, Rutte wrote.

Last week, justice ministry inspectors said not enough is being done to prove asylum seekers arriving in the Netherlands are who they say they are and where they have come from. MPs from across the political spectrum called for immediate improvements.

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