Netherlands
Head of state
Queen Beatrix
Head of government
Mark Rutte

The newly elected coalition government proposed criminalizing unlawful residency and instituting a partial ban on the wearing of full face veils. Immigration detention continued to be used excessively. Legal, constitutional or institutional developments

In September, the government confirmed its intention to develop a national human rights action plan in response to a recommendation during the Universal Periodic Review in May.

In October, the newly established national human rights institution began its work.

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Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants

Immigration detention continued to be used excessively, despite the introduction of pilot alternative schemes for particular categories of migrants and asylum-seekers. Conditions in immigration detention centres largely mirrored those in criminal detention facilities.

The transparency of the Commission for Comprehensive Supervision of Return (Commissie Integraal Toezicht Terugkeer, CITT), the body overseeing forced removals and one of the national preventative mechanisms under the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, remained limited. Annual reports published by the CITT do not include specific data on the use of force in individual removal proceedings.

In October, the new coalition government proposed criminalizing unlawful residency, leading to concerns over further marginalization and increased vulnerability of undocumented migrants.

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Discrimination

In October, the coalition government proposed adopting measures to combat discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

However, it also proposed a partial ban on the wearing of full face veils by women on public transport and in health centres, schools and government buildings. This raised concerns that the prohibition would violate the freedoms of expression and religion of women who choose to wear the burqa or niqab as an expression of their identity or beliefs.

Ongoing concerns of discriminatory practices by law enforcement officials, including ethnic profiling, remained.

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International justice

In April, the Dutch Supreme Court delivered a judgement on whether the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) could be held responsible for deaths of Bosnian Muslims during the 1995 Srebrenica genocide. The Court ruled that the UN held immunity from prosecution before national courts. The families of the victims appealed the decision to the European Court of Human Rights.

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