Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page


Regarding the accelerated asylum determination procedure

    · Revise current policy and practice to recognize that individuals from a much wider range of countries than those currently listed as categorically "unsafe" require access to the full determination procedure in order to establish whether they are in need of international protection.

    · Ensure that cases involving serious physical or psychological problems at the time of the applicant's asylum interview, cases involving possible victims of torture or sexual violence, and other persons exhibiting symptoms of trauma, be exempted from accelerated consideration and admitted to the full asylum procedure.

    · Direct asylum officers of the department of immigration and naturalization (Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst: IND) to transfer complex cases requiring additional investigation to the full asylum determination procedure. Cases involving the application of the six-month trauma guideline, questions of "internal flight options," or other complex interpretative questions, such as whether persecution as a member of a "social group" occurred, should always be transferred.

    · Explore ways in which asylum seekers' access to lawyers, preferably a single lawyer throughout the process given the speed of accelerated procedures, can be made more flexible so as to allow adequate time for the claim and any appeal to be prepared.

    · Direct asylum officers in the AC procedure, when evaluating credibility, to take into account the limited opportunity available to the asylum seeker to present documentary proof and other relevant information.

    · Take urgent steps to ensure that every asylum seeker is provided an adequate opportunity to present their claim for asylum, and that judicial review ensures that the merits of the case have been fairly examined.

Regarding the treatment of migrant children in asylum and immigration procedures

    · Make clear to all officials that the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other relevant international and regional instruments mandating minimum standards for the treatment of all children are applicable to migrant children regardless of their legal status.

    · Amend asylum law and policy so that unaccompanied children are always dealt with in the full asylum determination procedure.

    · In cases where children have arrived as part of a "child family" and IND subsequently determines that the eldest sibling is an adult, the younger children's applications should be dealt with as part of the adult sibling's application if IND makes the determination that the children are "accompanied" and that the adult sibling is willing and able to speak on their behalf, as would be the case in applications involving parents arriving with children.

    · Establish a new policy for interviews with children so that children are supported by a single person, whether a representative of VluchtelingenWerk Nederland ("VluchtelingenWerk": the Dutch Refugee Council), a guardian, or a lawyer, throughout the asylum process. The person appointed to the child's case should be appointed from the beginning of the case and be available to support the child through all stages of his or her asylum application; IND interviews should not take place in the absence of this person.

    · Develop guidelines for asylum interviews of children that ensure that IND authorities assess these applications in light of the child's age and maturity.

    · Discontinue the practice of unnecessarily interviewing young children, particularly in cases where a lawyer or state-appointed guardian familiar with asylum law is not present during the interviews. Separate interviews with young children should be conducted only when the child has a distinct fear of persecution and needs to lodge his or her own application on this basis. Where multiple children in a family are interviewed, officials should not place undue emphasis on minor inconsistencies in assessing credibility.

    · Amend current asylum and immigration law and policy so that the definition of unaccompanied minor is in conformity with accepted international and regional standards.

    · Revise the current asylum and immigration procedure for children so that each child benefits from a separate hearing on the best long-term solution in light of his or her special circumstances.

    · Take responsibility for the tracing of children's families in countries of origin and make necessary arrangements for any repatriation, even for those children who are temporarily staying in the Netherlands with extended family, ensuring that repatriations are only carried out where a suitable and willing caregiver has been identified.

    · Provide all children, including those who arrived as part of a "child family," who are allowed to remain in the Netherlands pending their repatriation, with temporary documentation. Children who are permitted to stay with extended family or an adult sibling in the Netherlands, and who cannot be repatriated within the three-year stay requirement applied to unaccompanied children, should be given the option to apply for permanent residence in the Netherlands.

Regarding reception conditions for asylum seekers

    · Make immediate provisions for all asylum seekers who have not received a final negative decision on their applications to receive basic reception assistance, including housing, food, and access to health care. This should include asylum seekers awaiting an appeal after a negative decision in the accelerated procedure as well as asylum seekers who have been accepted for consideration in a full asylum procedure on the basis of a new (second) asylum application.

    · Devise a system for ensuring that persons who show signs of serious trauma receive necessary treatment and support while in the Netherlands, even if these persons are rejected in an accelerated asylum procedure and ultimately may not meet the criteria for refugee status.

    · Separate the asylum determination outcome from the decision to revoke basic shelter, so that rejected asylum seekers in need of humanitarian assistance have an opportunity to request such assistance at any point pending their repatriation or deportation to their country of origin.

    · Expand the range of humanitarian circumstances warranting an exception to the automatic termination of housing rights twenty-eight days after a final decision is made to include consideration for vulnerable persons such as families with children, the elderly, and persons who are physically or mentally ill or traumatized.

Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page