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The Netherlands: 'Westernised' Somali refugees may get right to stay in Holland
A 'foreign accent' when speaking Somali or other signs of westernisation which cannot be kept hidden may be enough for some Somali refugees to be given residency in the Netherlands, immigration minister Gerd Leers told MPs in a briefing on Wednesday.
Refugees returning to southern and central Somalia may be too westernised to live under the strict Islamic rules imposed by Al Shabaab, which dominates these areas, the minister said.
The measure is more likely to apply to youngsters who came to the Netherlands as children and have spent their formative years here than adults who have not participated in Dutch society, Leers said.
The immigration service will assess individuals on a case by case basis to see if westernisation is too strong to make a return to Somalia possible.
The Council of State in July ruled the Netherlands must stop deporting failed Somali asylum seekers because of the continuing violence - effectively reversing government policy.
The country's highest court ruled it is not possible for Somali nationals to travel from Mogadishu to southern and central parts of the country without the risk of being attacked because of the armed conflict.
This means deportation is no longer an option at the moment, the court said.
Some 300 Somalis currently face deportation. Earlier this year a number of them set up a protest camp outside a refugee centre in Groningen to draw attention to their case.
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