Only Aggressive Asylum Seekers Behind Bars

Fred Teeven
State Secretary Fred Teeven. (Fred Teeven)

Only aggressive and criminal asylum seekers will end up in jail behind bars. The other asylum seekers stay in an open door prison or must report regularly.

This is written in the vision on the future of detention of foreigners of State Secretary Fred Teeven (Security and Justice). The plan now goes to the Cabinet, he told the Volkskrant. With this future approach, the VVD Minister meets an explicit wish of coalition partner PvdA.

From now on, there will be a distinction in the detention, between a light and a heavy regimen. Teeven: "Under the heavy regime fall judicial convicts and people who are difficult to manage. These are people who are spitting and hitting the custodians. The rest of the applicants get a light regime: a reporting requirement or a stay in an open door prison. In that type of prisons, the applicants have a lot of freedom and they can go outside."

Asylum seekers end up in prison, at this moment, if they are rejected and returned to the country of origin. All applicants who enter the country via Schiphol, are also put behind bars.

Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland, says that the plan to take fewer foreigners in custody is 'a leap forward'. "These people have done nothing wrong and asked only for protection. They should not be put in prison,” says a spokesperson.

That Teeven is coming with this proposal doesn’t surprise Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland. "The European Human Rights Committee, the Anti Torture Committee and more and more judges say that the Netherlands is using detention too quickly when it comes to asylum seekers. That is not allowed. It should be a last resort."