AIDA Update The Netherlands: Introduction of an official border procedure does little to prevent systematic detention at the border

Detailing the implementation of the recast Asylum Procedures and Reception Conditions Directives in the Netherlands, the updated AIDA report sets out the introduction of a formal border procedure at the application centre in Schiphol airport. This has consequentially had the effect of delimiting the grounds whereby an asylum application can be rejected as well as the amount of time an applicant can be held at the application centre. As the authors, the Dutch Council for Refugees, therefore explain, the previous unlimited grounds of rejection have been curtailed to claims where the Dublin Regulation is applicable and to those which are inadmissible or manifestly unfounded. Additionally, the maximum amount of time spent within the border procedure has been reduced from six to four weeks. Nonetheless, the report raises concern that systematic border detention, regardless of a time limit, is not in conformity with international and EU standards and, in particular, with the obligation to assess alternatives to detention. 

The AIDA update further highlights amendments which have been made to national legislation in order to incorporate the medical examination and special procedural guarantees codified in the recast Asylum Procedures Directive. Notably, in line with Article 18 of the recast Asylum Procedures Directive, national legislation in force provides for a discretionary medical examination to be undertaken and used as corroborate evidence where, for example, an asylum seeker provides information on the presence of psychological or physical traces of harm. This may be funded by the State; even where the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) believes that there is no need for an examination to be undertaken. Moreover, the identification of asylum seekers with special needs has been laid out in domestic law and working instructions given to the IND so that both physical, psychological and self-indications are to be used for the identification of vulnerability. According to the report this list is not exhaustive. However, there are uncertainties as to the implications and effects on the actual procedure when vulnerability is identified given that those who are vulnerable start their procedure and can be processed within the standard short asylum procedure.  

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions and detention across 20 countries.