Dutch government says situation in Iraq does not require expulsion stop

November 2nd, 2010 - 8:29 pm ICT by BNO News  

THE HAGUE (BNO NEWS) — The Dutch government on Tuesday said that the situation in Iraq is not so unsafe that failed asylum seekers cannot be deported back to Iraq.

Dutch Minister for Immigration and Asylum Affairs Gerd Leers announced his stance on Tuesday after a call for action from Amnesty International. Leers argued that this year alone, more than 400 Iraqi asylum seeks have already voluntarily returned to their country.

Leers said the latest independent report he received on Iraq, which described the country’s situation from February to September, does not give him reason to change the expulsion policy in regards to Iraq. “However, the overall situation in Iraq does show the need to classify certain groups in Iraq as vulnerable minority groups,” he said.

The term vulnerable minority, which is being applied to Iraqi Christians, Mandaeans, Yezidis, Palestinians, Jews and Shabak kaka’i, means that individuals from these groups can more easily appeal for protection without a lot of evidence.

“They do not have to prove that they were a victim of human rights violations in Iraq. Violations of human rights in their immediate environment can also be an argument for protection by the Netherlands,” the government added. “In addition during the asylum application, there is extra attention for intellectuals, journalists and people in risk professions.”

The latest Dutch government report on Iraq showed that the security situation in Iraq remains worrying, although the situation has improved since 2006 and 2007. The past 6 months, however, cannot be called either an improvement or a deterioration, the government report concluded.

“Whilst the general situation in Iraq, and in Baghdad, is insecure and problematic, it is not so serious as to cause, by itself, a violation of Article 3 of the Convention if the applicant were to return to that country,” Roeland Böcker, Agent of the Government of the Netherlands, explained in a letter to the European Court of Human Rights.

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