Asylum seeking in the Netherlands: Systematically unfair

A group of experts from the University of Nijmegen has sharply criticised the Dutch asylum system. In its report, which was commissioned by the state, it concludes that people have been falsely portrayed as fraudsters and lost their residence permits as a result. It also says that the legislation of recent years has increasingly weakened the position of asylum seekers. Commentators call for solutions.

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NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Institutionalised mistrust

Asylum seekers also deserve compassion, warns NRC Handelsblad, and sees clear parallels with the recent child benefits scandal:

“Humane standards have practically disappeared in asylum policy. ... A strict system is not inherently wrong if it is fair. With broad scope for individual examination. The 'black book' shows that in other areas too, the state has created a system that discriminates above all against weak groups. ... A system that distinguishes between first and second class citizens, between 'us' and 'them'. The institutionalised mistrust that finds expression in harsh laws and the hunt for fraudsters, without even a glance at individual cases, has also destroyed numerous lives in immigration policy.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

An honest reappraisal

De Volkskrant demands consequences for the current legislative period:

“When rigid rules dominate the independent thinking of civil servants and controlling judges, human lives quickly come under threat. The most sovereign right then becomes the most sovereign wrong. ... The accumulation of ever stricter rules has brought us an asylum system that is riddled with mistrust, in which every little mistake leads to rejection. ... The affair of child subsidies has apparently spurred the government into sincere reflection: when does politics turn into unjust politics? How can one combine head and heart? These good intentions, which are currently to be determined in the coalition explorations, must not disregard asylum policy.”