16 May 2014

A new AIDA report by the Dutch Council for Refugees on the asylum procedure, detention and reception conditions in the Netherlands has been published this week.

The update explains the new Dutch criteria for detaining asylum seekers pending their removal to another EU Member State under the Dublin III Regulation. According to this Regulation, detention is permitted where there is a ‘significant risk of absconding’, which Dutch law says is met if at least two of these three circumstances are present: (1) previous irregular entry and unlawful absconding; (2) previous failure to leave the Netherlands when ordered to do so; (3) previous non-cooperation with determination of identity and nationality, including forged or discarded ID papers, or expressed non-intention to cooperate. The Dutch Secretary of State stated that there will always be as well an individual assessment on whether somebody should be detained and that it is not sufficient just to ascertain that these circumstances are met.

The report highlights the good practice of the six-day ‘rest and preparation period’ prior to beginning the asylum procedure, during which the asylum seeker has time to recuperate from their journey, an independent medical examination can take place to determine fitness for interview, counselling can be provided by the Dutch Council for Refugees, and preparatory action can be taken by the applicant’s lawyer.

The report also notes that the Dutch appeals process has been described as ‘unnecessarily complicated’. Appeals in the ordinary (non-extended) asylum procedure don’t have ‘suspensive effect’, which means the appellant can be removed from the Netherlands before the outcome of the appeal. This can only be prevented if, alongside the appeal, a request for suspension of removal is lodged, but this must be made within 24 hours of the initial refusal of the asylum application.

This report is part of the Asylum Information Database (AIDA), a project of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), in partnership with Forum Refugiés-Cosi, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Irish Refugee Council. AIDA focuses on asylum procedures, reception conditions and detention of asylum seekers in EU Member States.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 16 May 2014.
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