Amnesty International Netherlands says that the Dutch immigration authorities resort to detention too easily and keep illegal aliens incarcerated for far too long. The human rights organisation has called on parliament to take action.
The cabinet argues the detention centres are only used as a last resort, but Amnesty says in actual practice this is not true.
According to Amnesty, the number of illegal aliens held in detention centres averages around 9,000 a year. Judges regularly rule that an incarceration is unlawful. Amnesty says this is hardly surprising as the criteria for detention are too loosely applied.
Amnesty also says the authorities rarely avail themselves of alternatives such as electronic supervision, allowing illegal aliens to post bail, or allowing other persons to act as guarantor. The organisation says this is true even in cases involving vulnerable groups such as the elderly or victims of torture.
A June 2008 Amnesty report The Netherlands: Detention of Irregular Migrants and asylum-seekers included sharp criticism of the Dutch practice of detention and made numerous recommendations.
In 2010, Amnesty made an update of this report which concluded that the main recommendations from 2008 have not followed: Vreemdelingendetentie: The Battle of Human Rights (November 2010).
On January 20, 2011 Amnesty wrote a letter to the House prior to the general consultation on the issue.