Afghan interpreters who have worked for the Netherlands in Afghanistan have the special attention of the cabinet and more than 60 have arrived with their families to go through an asylum procedure. The ministers Bijleveld (Defence) and Blok (Foreign Affairs) write this in a letter to the House of Representatives.
There are many concerns about the safety of interpreters. For example, there are reports of interpreters who were murdered after working for the international coalition in Afghanistan. Two years ago it was already known that the threatened interpreters are in principle eligible for asylum in the Netherlands. Radio program Argos reported last year on the basis of initiates that they were actively brought to the Netherlands.
The VVD and D66 yesterday in the House insisted that the interpreters should come quickly to the Netherlands now the risks become even greater by the withdrawal of foreign soldiers from Afghanistan. This appeal followed a similar request from Dutch soldiers, who stressed in the Volkskrant that international missions can not do without this kind of interpreters.
On the number of translators at risk, their names and other information about them, no statements are made by the Cabinet for security reasons.
The ministers write in their letter that the Netherlands feels a great responsibility for this group. The ministries of Defence, Foreign Affairs and the immigration department IND therefore endeavour to bring interpreters who meet the requirements and want to, with their families to the Netherlands.
Delay by corona, catching up now
“ Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, work was temporarily delayed in 2020, due to the absence of flights leaving Afghanistan and the embassy was partially closed,” the ministers wrote. At the beginning of this year, additional capacity was released to catch up.
Interpreters for the current Dutch mission are also eligible for the scheme. However, the Ministers stress the need to establish that interpreters fulfil all the conditions. For example, it must be demonstrated that they have actually worked as interpreters and that their identity has been established. That is often not clear at the embassy, for example because no documents are presented.