Thursday 20 January 2022

Iraqi refugee commits suicide after long wait for assessment

Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers COAQuestions are to be raised in parliament following the suicide of an Iraqi refugee at the Alphen aan den Rijn asylum seekers’ centre on Saturday.

The 30-year-old man hung himself after becoming frustrated at the amount of time it was taking for his case to be processed, according to a local foundation which is supporting the 1,200 refugees living in the former prison.

‘This man left three children in the war zone around Baghdad to try and find a safe future for them,’ foundation spokesman Akram Shawki told the broadcaster.


ChristenUnie MP Joel Voordewind said he wants junior immigration minister Klaas Dijkhoff to explain exactly what happened and why procedures are taking so long.

Voordewind said the man had gone to the Ter Apel registration centre three times in an effort to get back his passport so he could return to his family in Iraq.

‘He had been speaking to his wife by phone and she wanted him to come home and help with the children,’ Voordewind said. ‘But he had just been told it would take three more months before his status would be agreed and that he could not return before then.’

Shawki told the broadcaster there have been several suicide attempts in the centre. In particular the men from Syria are desperate because they cannot take care of the families they have left behind, he said. ‘They cannot work towards their future and they cannot earn money,’ he told the broadcaster.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.