Press Release Teeven visits Iraq

In the beginning of this week, the State Secretary of Security and Justice visited Iraq to discuss the return of rejected asylum Iraqis to their homeland. During the two-day visit to both Baghdad and Erbil (Kurdistan Region) Teeven spoke with several Iraqi and Kurdish ministers about migration and return. With his visit to Iraq Teeven has resumed the dialogue between the Netherlands and Iraq in the field of return at the political level with both the central Iraqi authorities and the Kurdish region. This visit is an important step to reach a joint solution with Iraq on the issue of return in the long run. 

Teeven agreed with his Iraqi colleagues to jointly promote voluntary returns. However, forced returns are still a sensitive topic in Iraq. Now that there have been no forced returns to Iraq for quite some time, deportations to Iraq have virtually come to standstill. The Iraqi authorities do cooperate with voluntary returns. 

The return policy of the Netherlands presumes voluntary return of the aliens who must leave the Netherlands. To this end, the Netherlands stimulate independent and sustainable return of the aliens and finance various reintegration projects. However, if an alien does not use the opportunity to leave the Netherlands independently with the help of these projects, a deportation procedure may start. When an illegal alien has no passport, cooperation of the country of origin is required to make forced return possible. Since 2010, about two thousand Iraqis have independently returned to Iraq through the International Organization for Migration (IOM), who in this way contribute to the reconstruction of their country. 

In addition to the discussions on migration, Teeven spoke extensively with the authorities on the developments in the field of security and justice in Iraq. The Secretary is also familiar in the region, he visited Erbil earlier as an MP and as a prosecutor when he worked on the Van Anraat.