Gesthuizen: 'Dutch asylum policy utterly inadequate’

12 April 2013

Gesthuizen: 'Dutch asylum policy utterly inadequate’

Secretary of State for Asylum and Immigration Fred Teeven today published the results of an enquiry into the suicide of Russian asylum seeker Aleksandr Dolmatov. What has emerged is that everything which could go wrong did go wrong. Dolmatov was held unjustly in custody, his legal counsel was poorly organised and medical care hopelessly inadequate, a point to which the SP has called attention time after time only to be met by a shrug of the shoulders from the government.

Responding to the report, SP Member of Parliament Sharon Gesthuizen says: 'These findings are heartrending. For Dolmatov’s family and friends this news must come as a terrible shock.' The enquiry revealed that the Netherlands’ asylum procedure is managed by protocols, forms and computer systems. The human element is completely absent and in the end that means things can go horribly wrong.

The body responsible for the enquiry, the official Security and Justice Inspectorate, does not mince its words, concluding that at various moments the matter was handled carelessly by a number of different organisations. Everything began to go awry with a false entry in the computer system which recorded that Dolmatov was in the Netherlands ‘unlawfully’, rather than ‘lawfully’. This in turn led to the view that he should be deported and to detention in a facility for rejected applicants for asylum.

‘Recently I was told during a working visit to the IND (official immigration and naturalisation service) and the DT&V (official service ‘Return and Departure’) that the Dutch policy on admission of foreigners works well,’ says Gesthuizen. ‘In fact, they didn’t want to hear any criticism. But a total lack of reflection is dangerous. It means you no longer see your own mistakes.’ Gesthuizen argues that Secretary Teeven should examine his conscience and ask himself whether he’s prepared to do things differently. ‘Otherwise he simply isn’t the right man for this portfolio,’ Gesthuizen adds.

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