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GENEVA (12 November 2018) – UN human rights experts* have expressed serious concerns about the prevalence of racism in the Dutch welfare system, citing the case of a family of refugees of African descent living in the Netherlands whose children were forcibly removed from their parents’ care.
Charles Taylor in his work on interculturalism points out that in order to redefine nations that embrace diversity, we need a story. This paper aims to offer a particular story of refugee integration in the Netherlands through the example of De Voorkamer, a grassroots initiative located in Lombok, one of the most ethnically diverse neighbourhoods in the city of Utrecht. The initiative aims to enhance the integration of refugees and asylum seekers in ways that counter ‘bureaucratic processes of integration’.
The duration of asylum procedures is significantly increasing in the Netherlands, despite steady numbers of asylum seekers arriving in the country. According to a brief submitted to the Parliament (Tweede Kamer) by the Dutch Council for Refugees, the waiting time for applicants to start the procedure with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) has risen to 20 weeks, compared to 8 weeks at the beginning of last year.
Twenty-one humanitarian and human rights organizations respond with dismay to the Dutch Parliament’s approval of the EU’s new asylum plans to offshore asylum protection. With a joint appeal, they ask the government for a humane asylum policy, in line with international law.
Netherlands – The number of migrants opting for voluntary departure from the Netherlands to their countries of origin with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is growing.
Under the IOM Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme from the Netherlands, 538 migrants were assisted in the month of June, compared to 429 in May. In the first half of the year, over 2,500 migrants departed under the programme – a 100 percent increase compared to the first six months of 2015, when 1,288 departed voluntarily from the Netherlands with IOM assistance.
New measures by central government will help local authorities create more housing in the short term for asylum seekers with residence permits. For instance, instead of selling its vacant buildings, the Central Government Real Estate Agency will offer to lease them to municipalities. They can convert the buildings into both self-contained and shared accommodation.
The Cabinet has approved a proposal by the Minister for Housing and the Central Government Sector to use the legal scope for social innovation, so that housing associations can manage properties that they do not own.
International cooperation minister Ben Knapen has announced how the Netherlands will help developing countries solve their water problems over the next few years. At a meeting today with Dutch water sector representatives, he presented the plans outlined in his policy letter ‘Water for Development’.
‘Women represent 50% of human capital. It is in every country’s interest to make sure that they are actively involved in society, the economy and political decision-making.’ These words were spoken by Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal in Leiden on Monday afternoon when he attended the launch of the second National Action Plan to implement Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. Mr Rosenthal stressed the importance of women’s leadership and political involvement in peacebuilding efforts in conflict-affected areas.
Between now and 2013, the Netherlands will invest €163.5 million in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. On Monday 11 July, Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation Ben Knapen spoke with Professor Michel Kazatchkine, the executive director of the Fund, about the Netherlands’ contribution.
Mr Knapen expressed his appreciation for the good results the Fund has achieved, due in part to Dutch support. The Fund’s programmes are estimated to have saved more than 6.5 million lives over the past 10 years.