World Report 2012 - European Union: The Netherlands

Publisher Human Rights Watch
Publication Date 22 January 2012
Cite as Human Rights Watch, World Report 2012 - European Union: The Netherlands, 22 January 2012, available at: [accessed 12 December 2018]
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.

In February the government narrowed the right of some asylum seekers to a suspensive appeal. In July it announced that rejected asylum seekers and irregular migrants should be forced to bear all costs for their forced return and narrowed the right to a suspensive appeal in certain cases.

In August an appeals court reaffirmed that Turkish nationals should be exempt from the in-country integration test required for long-term residency. In September the government said that Turkish migrants are no longer required to pass integration tests before immigrating to the Netherlands.

In September the Dutch government announced plans to introduce stricter requirements for family reunification, impose fines or prison for unauthorized stay, and make it easier to deport non-EU foreigners who commit a crime. In a move that could discourage domestic violence victims from reporting abuse, the plans also increase from three to five years the period women migrants must remain with their husbands before they can seek residency independently. Under the proposals family members of recognized refugees would be exempt from having to claim asylum. At this writing the measures had yet to be presented to parliament.

While NGOs applauded a March central government decision to end detention of unaccompanied migrant children, local authorities criticized a separate central government decision, effective in July, to sever all financial and housing support once they turn 18-years-old.

Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party, was acquitted in June of charges of inciting hostility or discrimination against Muslims, non-Western immigrants, and Moroccans. The prosecutor had recommended the charges be dismissed on free expression grounds. But the finding of the Dutch court that, as a politician, Wilders had greater latitude than members of the public to express inflammatory ideas appeared at odds with ECtHR jurisprudence on free speech.

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