Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2017, 11:55 GMT

World Report 2009 - The Netherlands

Publisher Human Rights Watch
Publication Date 14 January 2009
Cite as Human Rights Watch, World Report 2009 - The Netherlands, 14 January 2009, available at: [accessed 14 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Events of 2008

A bill on administrative measures for national security aimed at preventing acts of terrorism passed the House of Representatives in March 2007 and is pending before the Senate at this writing. It contains provisions severely limiting the freedom of movement and right to privacy of persons suspected of being "connected to" or supporting terrorist activities. The bill has been criticized by rights groups for its lack of clear definitions and the absence of judicial supervision over such measures.

In January 2008 the Hague Appeals Court refused to characterize the militant Hofstad network as a "terrorist group" when it cleared seven men, including Mohammed Bouyeri, the murderer of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, of the charge of belonging to a terrorist group. In October the Amsterdam Appeals Court upheld the conviction of Samir Azzouz and four others on terrorism charges.

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment in a February report expressed concern about the placement of terrorism suspects in special high-security "terrorist departments" in prisons, the conditions of which it considered so strict as to amount to de facto isolation.

There were successful court challenges to discriminatory law and policies restricting the ability of legal residents to bring family members into the Netherlands from non-Western countries. In July Amsterdam's district court ruled that it is unlawful to require migrants from certain countries wishing to join relatives in the Netherlands to pass an integration test demonstrating knowledge of Dutch language and society before being allowed into the country, although it did not determine whether the policy violates human rights law. The test, which disproportionately affects Moroccan and Turkish Muslim migrants, has been criticized by Dutch MPs and NGOs. Earlier the same month, a court in Roermond overturned a related law requiring residents wishing to bring a non-Dutch spouse to the Netherlands to earn at least 120 percent of the minimum wage. The Ministry of Justice is appealing both rulings, and policies are the subject of an ongoing government review.

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