Van Bommel: 'Immigration minister’s asylum policy is totally unsuited to purpose’

31 July 2012

Van Bommel: 'Immigration minister’s asylum policy is totally unsuited to purpose’

The Council of State today ruled that Immigration and Asylum Minister Gerd Leers has taken insufficient account of the dangers that westernised Somalis run in their country of origin. The judgement follows an earlier ruling that Somalis cannot be subject to deportation, as the murderous group known as Al Shabaab continues to control large swathes of the country. ‘The minister is of the opinion that Somalis would be best returning to their country voluntarily,’ says SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel. ‘He will grant them emergency relief only if they agree to do this. This of course leads to their going back “voluntarily”, but with a knife at their throats.’

Harry van BommelIn May the SP argued in vain for Somali asylum seekers who have exhausted all procedures for claiming a permanent right of residency to be allowed to stay and given emergency support until such time as it becomes possible for them to return in safety. At the time a parliamentary majority in favour of this proposal could not be found, even though it was widely recognised that these people could not go back, and through no fault of their own. A foreign national is deemed responsible for making the most impossible attempts to obtain travel documents, despite the fact that the embassies of some countries of origin are very reluctant to take back their own nationals and issue the necessary documents. 'We can’t just leave these people to their fate,’ says Van Bommel. ‘The Council of State has made this quite clear, so now it’s down to the minister to do the same. I have therefore asked him to recognise that Somalis can and may not return to their country.’

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