Dutch cabinet to be generous with asylum requests from Afghan assistants
The cabinet wants to treat asylum applications from Afghans who worked for the Dutch mission in a similar way to those from Afghan interpreters. This will make it easier for them to get asylum in the Netherlands. The cabinet announced this to the lower house of Dutch parliament on Wednesday evening.
This concerns "those person who were hired for a long time by the Netherlands or who had a contract with the Netherlands". They will be "treated on an equal footing with the interpreters if they apply for asylum in the Netherlands after evacuation."
This issue was fiercely debated in parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday. Afghans who worked for the Dutch mission are at risk now that the Taliban have conquered the country. They should therefore, like the interpreters, be seen as a "systematically persecuted group" if they apply for asylum in the Netherlands, was the appeal of parliament.
Caretaker State Secretary Ankie Broekers-Knol initially did not want to go along with this on Wednesday. "We don't want to do it that way," she expressed the government's position after the motion was passed. The motion is "so broadly worded, because of my responsibility, I cannot do it in that way". The government insisted on assessing asylum applications from this group individually.
The cabinet now seems to be taking that back, and said it will carry out the motion "in letter and spirit". It should therefore be noted that this must concern "those persons who were hired for a long time by the Netherlands or who had a contract with the Netherlands".
The Ministers involved also said that they will "of course make maximum effort to take the groups as mentioned in the motion Belhaj et al. on the evacuation flights of the Netherlands and partners". Those flights can continue as long as U.S. security forces can guarantee safety.
In the letter, Ministers Sigrid Kaag (Foreign Affairs) and Ank Bijleveld (Defense) and State Secretary Broekers-Knol wrote that the evacuations are intended for "acute and distressing cases". SP parliamentarian Renske Leijten found this remarkable. This means that the house is "led around the bush", she believes, and that the motion will not be carried out. "In this situation of war, of acute emergency, that is very false."
Reporting by ANP