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Mark Klaassen speaks on radio about minor asylum seekers

In the Netherlands dozens of Eritrean minor refugees are wandering the streets, even though minor asylum seekers have a right to asylum.

Mark Klaassen

In accordance with the Dublin Regulation, the first EU country where a refugee is registered becomes responsible for dealing with that person’s asylum application, says Assistant Professor Mark Klaassen on Dutch VPRO radio programme Argos. So if an Eritrean asylum seeker flees via Libya to Italy, is registered there and travels onwards to the Netherlands, Italy remain responsible.

The European Member States use the central database Eurodac to see which refugee is registered where, says Klaassen. 'This is a database containing all data on asylum seekers which is entered upon arrival in a Member State. So if an asylum seeker arrived first in Italy, then normally that person would be registered there, and the Netherlands can use the database to check if the foreign national had been somewhere else before.'

If this is the case, the Netherlands sends the asylum seeker back to the country of arrival. But this applies to adult asylum seekers: the rule does not apply to unaccompanied asylum seekers who are younger than 18 years of age. They have the right to be accommodated in any country where they register.' In addition, minors are entitled to the appointment of a guardian. This guardian must ensure that the foreign national minor is protected and supervised in its upbringing.'

In the programme, it became clear that registration in the country of arrival is often a chaotic process where data is not always recorded correctly. Asylum seekers sometimes don’t know their date of birth or do not know why it is important that their real date of birth is registered.

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