NETHERLANDS: Child refugee law lacks support

[15 April 2012] - Draft legislation which would give refugee children the right to stay in the Netherlands if they have been in the country for at least eight years is unlikely to be accepted by parliament, Trouw reports.

The law was drawn up by opposition parties Labour and ChristenUnie but the Christian Democrats are unlikely to support the plan, meaning it cannot command majority support.

The two parties hope the measure would stop children who are settled in the Netherlands being deported back to countries they can hardly remember or where they don't speak the language.

Hundreds

It is unclear how many children would be affected by the measure but Trouw says up to 1,500 refugees - including children - would now be allowed to stay. Other reports say several hundred children would be affected. Most of them come from Somalia, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, Trouw says.

The call to allow child refugees to stay is supported by 170 of the country's 400 plus local councils and 89 local CDA parties. Over 130,000 people have signed a petition in favour.

Nevertheless, CDA parliamentarians say repeated appeals mean parents are responsible if their children become too deeply rooted in Dutch society. Instead, the CDA is thought to favour setting up an independent panel to rule on controversial cases.

Mauro

The draft legislation was drawn up following immigration minister Geert Leer's decision not to give a residency permit to 18-year-old Angolan youth Mauro Manuel who has been in the country since he was 10. This decision by a CDA minister caused a crisis within the party.

However, Leers did say last year girls aged 10 to 18 could not be sent back to Afghanistan if they had lived in the Netherlands for at least eight years.

The exception has become known as the Sahar ruling, after an Afghan teenager faced with deportation despite living here for 10 years. 

 

Further Information:

pdf: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2012/04/child_refugee_law_unlikely...

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