Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2017, 16:28 GMT

World Report 2014 - European Union: The Netherlands

Publisher Human Rights Watch
Publication Date 21 January 2014
Cite as Human Rights Watch, World Report 2014 - European Union: The Netherlands, 21 January 2014, available at: [accessed 16 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.

Concerns about immigration and asylum policy persist. In June, the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) expressed concerns about immigration detention beyond the legal 18-month limit of unaccompanied children asylum seekers and of families with children pending age determination, and conditions and treatment in detention. The committee recommended effective use of alternatives to detention. Detainees in Rotterdam and at Schiphol airport went on hunger strikes in May to protest their poor treatment.

At time of writing, parliament is examining a bill to make irregular stay a crime punishable by fines up to €3,900 and prison up to six months for repeat offenders. The Ministry of Security and Justice set a police target of 4,000 arrests of irregular migrants during the year.

As of June, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are processed under an accelerated procedure; those over the age of 16 whose asylum requests have been rejected may be returned immediately unless adequate care in their home country is unavailable or the child is unable to provide for him or herself. The Dutch children's rights ombudsman expressed concern that the procedure does not adequately take into account the best interests of the child.

The government acknowledged in April that almost 300 people were misclassified as "removable" despite pending asylum appeals, including a Russian who committed suicide in January while in detention pending deportation. In September, the government announced plans to reduce detention of asylum seekers.

In September, the government granted permanent residence to 620 children (and 690 family members) who had been living in the Netherlands for at least five years and had applied for asylum, less than half of those who applied for the program.

The Netherlands decided it could return failed Somali asylum seekers in late 2012, though court appeals halted deportations throughout 2013. In September, shortly after the ECtHR ruled (in a case involving Sweden) that improved security in the Somali capital allowed for returns, the government began returns. In November, a Somali man was injured in a blast in Mogadishu three days after his deportation from the Netherlands.

At time of writing, the Senate was examining a bill, already passed by the lower house in February, to eliminate the sex reassignment surgery requirement for transgender people wanting new identification documents.

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