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Source: Government of the Netherlands

Ankie Broekers-Knol, the Minister for Migration, will be taking a number of measures to prevent situations such as the one around the return of the Armenian children Lily and Howick. According to the Inspectorate of Justice and Security, more general coordination, trust and in particular communication is required between all of the parties involved.

Broekers-Knol explains that it was a unique case, given such circumstances as the pressure from society and the disappearance of the children shortly before their scheduled return. She expects that the fact that the discretionary power has now been abolished will help prevent tensions increasing like they did in this case.

Broekers-Knol will indeed be adopting the Inspectorate’s recommendations. ‘Certainly in cases where minors are involved, it is important that the course of the procedure is clear. This means that all the parties involved must work together closely and execute their duties well. This was not the case in this instance.’

According to Broekers-Knol, the agreements on the work of the Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V) and on those of an organisation like Nidos need to be more strictly defined. This is necessary in light of the fact that the Inspectorate determined that DT&V did not take charge to the extent it should have and put too much trust in Nidos, the guardianship agency, which did not abide by its agreements, including those related to communication if differences in perception should arise.

Fine-tuning the agreements and making these more stringent should clarify the division of duties in the return process between DT&V and an organisation like Nidos. In this light, DT&V will be asked to take charge to a greater extent, while an organisation like Nidos will be expressly required to meet the agreements made, and to only engage in activities that are related to its guardianship and youth protection duties.

The police also have a duty to fulfil in improving how information is shared and exchanged in relevant cases. The police will be drawing up a directive, providing guidelines on how to deal with future cases where minors requesting asylum are removed from parental authority.

Minister for Migration Broekers-Knol acknowledges that the migration chain operates in a complex arena and appreciates the efforts being made by staff to ensure the carefully considered and fair implementation of migration policy.

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