Dutch immigration office too strict during asylum procedures: Amnesty International
The Dutch immigration and naturalization service IND is too strict when it comes to asylum seekers proving their identity and nationality, according to Amnesty International. Once the IND decides not to believe an asylum seeker, there's little they can do to change the service's mind and they are often deported to countries where there is a high risk of human rights violations, the aid organization said.
According to Amnesty International, the IND is too inclined to give asylum seekers the "disadvantage of the doubt" when it comes to the credibility of their identity and origin. If the service doesn't believe the asylum seeker, their application is no longer assessed in content. "The deportation process will then happen, without the IND assessing whether the person is at risk of torture or inhumane treatment," Amnesty International said.
It is not always possible for asylum seekers to bring their identity documents with them, the organization pointed out. For example when they had to flee in haste. Many also lose everything they have on the journey. The UN refugee agency UNHCR therefore believes that asylum seekers should be given "the benefit of the doubt" when it comes to assessing their identity and origin, Amnesty said.
The Dutch authorities are dealing with a massive backlog of asylum applications. A special task force was established to work through a backlog of 15,350 applications this year, but due to "a number of setbacks", including the pandemic, more time will be required, the government said on Wednesday.
So far about 6,500 of the backlog cases were processed. The task force hopes to finalize another 1,500 by the end of this year. But the rest will only be handled next year. The task force was therefore extended to continue in 2021.