Somalia: Dutch Cannot Send Back Westernized Somali Asylum-Seeker

Wim Jansen, All Africa, August 1, 2012

The Netherlands’ highest legal body has ruled that the Dutch government must take into consideration how Westernized asylum-seekers are when evaluating their asylum requests. It follows thus that if asylum-seekers are unable to readjust to their country of origin, they must be allowed to stay in the Netherlands.

The Dutch Council of State made this decision in a case involving a Somali woman. The Dutch authorities had rejected her asylum request, which meant that she would have to return to Somalia. But the council ruled that Somali refugees have adopted too many Western norms and values to be able to return to Somalia, where they would have to live under the strict Islamic rule of the al-Shabaab movement.

The ruling follows a judgment by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in June 2011. The court found that Somalis who were Westernized and forced to return to their country had a greater chance of facing serious problems.

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