Six parties vote for no confidence motion against Security and Justice Secretary

19 April 2013

Six parties vote for no confidence motion against Security and Justice Secretary

The SP group in the Dutch National Parliament this morning joined several other opposition parties – the Christian Democrats, centrist D66 and Christian Union, the Green Left and the Animals’ Party - this evening in voting to support a motion of no confidence in Secretary of State for Security and Justice Fred Teeven. The motion formed the culmination of a debate on the death of Russian asylum seeker Aleksandr Dolmatov who was unjustly placed in detention and failed to receive the necessary medical care or legal counsel. Eventually Dolmatov committed suicide in his cell. ‘The Secretary of State dismissed Dolmatov’s death as a unique incident,’ says SP Member of Parliament Sharon Gesthuizen. ‘He said he was sorry, shifted the guilt away from himself and will go on in the same old way. I find that shocking.’

Teeven onder vuur

Despite the fact that the enquiry showed that Teeven knew of a number of problems or at the very least may have done so, he saw no reason to resign. ‘For years I have been confronted with stories of detained foreigners who, for example, were not receiving the medical care that they need or were being treated in detention as if they were criminals. Domatov’s death is no mere incident, but a tragic consequence of structural shortcomings in the Netherlands’ asylum policy.’

Gesthuizen cited the facts which have recently been starkly revealed. ‘There were clear protocols which were not properly followed. Sound engagements were needed, which were not made.’ Asylum seekers, she says, were treated in the Justice Ministry’s computers as little more than dossier numbers and the human dimension is hard to find. ‘Since he took office Teeven has insisted that the Netherlands follows careful procedures and that good medical care is available, including to those in detention. We know that this is factually incorrect. The Secretary of State must today draw his own conclusions from that.’

According to Gesthuizen Teeven today blamed his staff, saying that he wanted to send them on a course in empathy and that a number of those involved had disregarded their duty or that they were on report. ‘He even denies that he’s the principle person responsible. I call that dishonest. It’s precisely as a result of his policies that these people have not been able to perform their tasks well enough.’

You are here