- Category: News
- Created on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 13:59
- Written by Administrator
In a letter to the Lower House of Parliament on Tuesday, Leers said the present situation in Ter Apel, near the German border in the province of Groningen, was not sustainable in the long run.
The Dutch government says the refugees must return to Iraq because the country is considered safe. The protestors claim they will be killed if they go home and want the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) to review their cases.
Human Rights Watch published a report on Tuesday claiming that Iraqi authorities are carrying out mass arrests and detaining people without trial. It also said the notorious ‘Camp Honor’ prison, which was supposed to have closed a year ago, remains open.
The protestors in Ter Apel have already rejected an offer from Leers of a week’s accommodation while they consider whether they are prepared to return voluntarily.
Leers told Parliament: ‘Actions of this kind cannot be the basis for changing asylum policy in general or towards a given country in particular.’
He said the government would give financial support to Iraqis who agree to return home.
‘I do not wish to specify a time limit for breaking up the camp, but it is clear that this situation cannot continue,’ Leers added.
The mayor for the neighbouring town of Vlagtwedde, Leontien Kompier, said the protest would be allowed to continue as long as there was no threat to public order.
It is the second time in six months that asylum seekers have set up a tented camp outside the refugee centre after being refused permission to stay in the country.
In December Somalian asylum seekers spent three days camped outside the centre. They ended their protest after the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) agreed to let them re-apply for asylum.
Last month more than 40 municipal mayors raised objections to Leers’s deportation policy.