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Netherlands: Asylum Procedures to Be Revised

(July 2, 2008) On June 24, 2008, the Government of the Netherlands announced a large-scale revision of procedures for asylum seekers. They will no longer be interrogated immediately, as they are under current procedures; instead, they will be allowed to prepare for the asylum interview for six days. Without adequate preparation time, refugee support organizations argue, asylum seekers who are asked about their identity and the reason they fled their homes and who are confused and afraid often hesitate and give incorrect information. Unsatisfactory initial interviews lead to uncertainty and delay in the overall procedure. The new proposal, which would be the first revision of the 2000 Aliens Law, replaces this initial interview and the second hearing with a single interview after the six-day preparation period. Thus, in addition to easing the process for the refugees, the government hopes the reform will streamline the procedures and reduce the backlog of cases. (Netherlands Revises Asylum Procedures, NRC HANDELSBLAD ONLINE, June 25, 2008, Open Source Center No. EUP20080625366004.)