Friday, 9 May 2014 - 17:27
No change to child asylum rules
Despite a large public battle to relax, or at least modify requirements for children in the Netherlands to be granted asylum, the current government will not take on the issue. The decision was announced by VVD member Fred Teeven, the State Secretary of Security and Justice. VVD coalition partner PvdA is amongst those making calls to change the current rules. Debate on the issue intensified this week when the children’s ombudsman called some of the rules “idiotic”, specifically a requirement that says the child has to have been living under care of the national government for five years. No credit is given if the child has been living under the care of a municipal government. “Municipalities cannot always see an individual situation clearly,” Teeven said. He added that the decision was made because municipalities are often unaware when a child asylum seeker is living in their area. Mayors of 195 different municipalities have signed a petition to Teeven this week asking the national government to accept that municipalities are capable of monitoring their residents and making recommendations on behalf of asylum seekers. Noticeably absent amongst the signatories is Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan and Den Haag Mayor Jozias Johannes van Aartsen. “For a specific group of children, I will see if maybe I am able to use my discretion in some way,” Teeven conceded.