Netherlands Human Rights

Asylum-seekers were transferred to Greece, despite continuing concern about their lack of access to a fair asylum-determination procedure there. Accelerated asylum-determination procedures, detentions of asylum-seekers and migrants, the extension of pre-trial detention and the denial of legal assistance during police questioning of criminal suspects gave rise to concern.

Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants

Following a court ruling in May, the government resumed transfers of asylum-seekers to Greece for determination of their asylum claims under the "Dublin II" Regulation, despite serious concerns about asylum-determination procedures and detention conditions in Greece.

In June, the government proposed amendments to the Aliens Act. If implemented, many asylum claims would be processed within eight days, including in complex cases. In July, the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) expressed concern that existing "accelerated procedures", allowing determination of asylum applications within 48 working hours, and the proposed eight-day procedure, might not allow asylum-seekers to substantiate their claims adequately, putting them at risk of forcible return.

According to government figures, thousands of irregular migrants and asylum-seekers were taken into immigration detention centres during the year and held on a remand regime. Those detained included vulnerable individuals, such as trafficking and torture survivors, with little consideration given to alternatives to detention. Even unaccompanied minors, whom the government asserted had no legitimate claim to remain or reside in the Netherlands, continued to be detained.

Some people whose immigration detention began in 2008 were held for more than 12 months, as Dutch law provides no maximum time limit on immigration detention.

Counter-terror and security

In March, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern at measures adopted by the authorities with the stated aim of combating terrorism, including: vague and broad definitions of crimes that may lead to unjustifiable restrictions on human rights and freedoms; provisions under the Investigation and Prosecution of Terrorist Offences Act permitting detention on mere suspicion of a "terrorist crime"; and an extension of maximum pre-trial detention from 90 days to two years for people charged with "terrorism offences".

The HRC expressed concern about the denial of legal counsel for criminal suspects during police questioning and possible pre-trial detention periods of up to two years. It criticized certain provisions of the Witness Identity Protection Act, which allow the defence to be excluded during the questioning of witnesses whose identity has been withheld from the defence for "national security reasons". It also expressed concern about the power of local mayors to issue administrative "disturbance orders", allegedly to combat terrorism, without judicial authorization or oversight of the measures imposed under such orders.


The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern about racist, anti-Semitic and other intolerant tendencies in the Netherlands, notably intolerance against Muslims.

In June, legislation was passed obliging municipalities from 1 January 2010 to collect data on discriminatory incidents, and provide access to a support service for those who wished to report discrimination.

Netherlands Newsroom

October 11, 2021 • Report

Authorities in Curaçao Continue to Deny Protection to People Fleeing the Crisis in Venezuela

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September 9, 2018 • Report

Curaçao: Authorities are denying protection to people fleeing the crisis in Venezuela

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April 18, 2018 • Report

Trump threat puts European role in lethal US drone strikes under new scrutiny

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November 27, 2017 • Report

Nigeria/UK/Netherlands: Investigate Shell for complicity in murder, rape and torture

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February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

May 23, 2013 • Report

Annual Report: Netherlands 2013

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March 19, 2011 • Report

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April 21, 2018 • Press Release

Athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick honored with top award from Amnesty International

Athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick has been honored with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2018, the human rights organization announced today.

March 10, 2016 • Press Release

Ai Weiwei, Snowden, Pussy Riot take place of online ads to protest censorship

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