Netherlands not doing enough to protect human rights in asylum procedure: Committee
The Netherlands and other European member states must do more to protect the rights of people coming to the European Union to apply for asylum. The Advisory Committee for Immigration Affairs (ACVZ) wrote this in a scathing letter. "In order to implement policy lawfully, the basic attitude of member states must change from "what can we get away with" to "what must we do," said the independent committee that advises parliament and the government on these kinds of issues.
The ACVZ investigated human rights violations at the external European borders, especially push- and pullbacks. These are actions in which asylum seekers are sent away by one of the European member states (pushbacks) or taken back by another country (pullbacks) without submitting an asylum application. The committee called such actions "inadmissible and contrary to international standards and European values. We have crossed a low line at the EU border."
According to the ACVZ, it is difficult to determine exactly what is happening at Europe's external borders. This is partly because it happens in places that are difficult to access, like military terrain or at sea. Many different agencies are also involved. At the same time, it is too difficult for victims of illegal pushbacks to obtain justice, said the advisory committee.
The possibilities to file a complaint are limited, and legal assistance is rarely arranged. The committee pointed out that this could lead to even more legal problems for the Netherlands. According to the ACVZ, the "pattern of looking away and mutually shuffling responsibility by member states and the EU institutions" must be broken. But it lacks "political will."
The committee recommended that the Netherlands make a more significant effort to improve the situation at the borders, for example, with material support or money. Furthermore, according to the ACVZ, the Netherlands should make every effort to change policy, improve the legal position of asylum seekers, and tighten monitoring in collaboration with other member states.
Reporting by ANP