Labour party demands fairer children's pardon

The PvdA will be submitting a proposal in parliament on Tuesday demanding a fairer implementation of the children's pardon, PvdA leader Diederik Samsom said on Monday, reports.

According to the PvdA, the so-called cooperation criterion in the children's pardon is sometimes applied too strictly. Samsom feels that this criterion - which states that children and parents are required to cooperate with all proceedings - can be unfair if it is not handled correctly. Sometimes the involved agency rules that a family is not cooperating after only one meeting is missed. It is also unfair to the failed asylum families who cooperated fully and was still deported.

Samsom's announcement comes after a discussion with PvdA member Esther van Dijken from Winsum in Groningen. She planned to arrange a special party congress to advocate for a broader children's pardon. According to the newspaper, Van Dijken is pleased that her party leader promised to take action and will put her plans for a special congress on hold.

The children's pardon comes from the coalition agreement between the VVD and PvdA. It states that child asylum seekers who stayed in the Netherlands for over five years can get a residence permit, if they and their family cooperated fully in all the asylum procedures.

Recently a large majority of the PvdA called for the rues around the children's pardon to be expanded, after it was revealed that only 100 of the over 1,300 children's pardon applications were approved. They want the PvdA parliamentarians, VVD parliamentarians and responsible VVD State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff (Security and Justice to insist on leniency when dealing with the children's pardon.

But coalition partner VVD is reluctant - the party feels that a line should be drawn and the children's pardon as it stands now does so.