More trouble for Justice Secretary

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The SP and GroenLinks are very dubious about State Secretary for Security and Justice, Fred Teeven's humanity in the implementation of the asylum policy. The parties want an independent investigation to be conducted into the suicide of an Armenian asylum seeker in April. For this, they want to submit a motion next week.

This was announced by MP for the SP, Sharon Gesthuizen, and MP for GroenLinks Linda Voortman on Wednesday during a debate about the treatment of asylum seekers. After Russian Aleksandr Dolmatov committed suicide in a detention center for asylum seekers, this issue has been a political minefield. At that time, Teeven survived a motion of no-confidence.

The Investigative Council for Security launched an investigation into the risks that rejected asylum seekers run in shelters and detention centers. The Investigative Council did not, at the time, find any evidence that asylum centers are structurally unsafe, but write in the report that immigrants do run risks, and that a solution was needed. Teeven promised Parliament that he would bring more "humane measures" into the alien policy.

Since then, the leftist opposition has not had reason to doubt the State Secretary. In April, however, Armenian Artavazd G. became the second asylum seeker to commit suicide in the center where he was staying, after being rejected for asylum, and was going to be sent back to Germany by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND).

According to Artavazd's lawyer, Eva van den Hombergh, the IND "took an unnecessary and dangerous risk" by deciding to send the man back. Artavazd had serious psychological problems, according to newspaper reports. Teeven wrote a letter to Parliament explaining the circumstances around the suicide. According to the man's lawyer, the information he gave was false, and that the Asylum Seekers Health Center doctor was unfamiliar with Artavazd's mental health issues.

Now, MPs Linda Voortman of GroenLinks and Sharon Gesthuizen of SP wonder if the State Secretary is trustworthy in the execution of asylum seekers policy. According to the Telegraaf, D66 MP Gerard Schouw discouraged a motion of no-confidence be submitted against Teeven. According to him, this is "overdone" and "too easy". The parties actually wanted Teeven to be severely reprimanded, but Gasthuizen admitted that a motion has no use, as the rest of Parliament will not support this. Neither will an eventual independent investigation receive Parliament support, they believe.

According to the PvdA and D66, there have been improvements in the treatment of asylum seekers. "D66 does give Teeven a yellow card", said Schouw, but he finds that the State Secretary should get the chance to finish his work.

This is the third time that Teeven has been faced with a motion of no-confidence by opposition parties. Last year, in a debate about Dolatov, and two weeks ago when Teeven acknowledged the deluge of asylum seekers entering the country from Eritrea.

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