The Netherlands does not have to give asylum to people from Afghanistan because the country is safe enough to go back to, the highest Dutch administrative court said on Wednesday.
The Council of State was ruling on an appeal brought by an Afghan man whose request for asylum had been rejected.
‘The general security situation in Afghanistan is worrying and has worsened in some provinces,’ the court said in its ruling. Nevertheless, that does not mean someone without links to groups involved in the conflict would not be able to return, the court said.
The court said it had based its ruling on reports by 16 Dutch and international organisations, including the UN, Amnesty International and refugee organisation Vluchtelingenwerk.
But Amnesty International immediately described the ruling as irresponsible and has rejected the court’s claim that it has judged the country to be safe.
In a report in 2017, Amnesty slammed the Dutch deportation policy and a spokesman told broadcaster NOS on Wednesday the situation has only worsened since then. ‘Large parts of the country are in the hands of the Taliban. Afghanistan is not safe for anyone,’ the spokesman said. ‘The suicide bomb in Kabul today is testament to that.’
According to NOS, the Netherlands is one of the few EU countries to regard Afghanistan as safe. In 2016 the EU struck a deal with Afghanistan, pledging to pay it €1.3bn a year on condition it accepted back its nationals who had failed in their attempts to win refugee status.
Wednesday’s case involved a man from Ghazni province and is unconnected to a case brought by an Afghan woman who has lived in the Netherlands since she was a young teenager.
She claims to be ‘too westernised’ to return to Afghanistan and that her life would be in danger because she no longer complies with the standards of female behaviour considered acceptable there.
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