IND deciding again on asylum applications from Palestinian Territories

Last update: 26 June 2024

The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (in Dutch: Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, or IND) is going to decide again on applications by stateless and other Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank. At the end of April the Council of State (in Dutch: Raad van State) ruled that the Decision Moratorium for this group that was announced on 19 December 2023 is unlawful. Adoption of the country policy for the Palestinian Territories has now given the IND a policy-related basis for taking asylum decisions.

Outgoing State Secretary Van der Burg wrote this today in a letter to the Dutch House of Representatives (in Dutch: Kamerbrief). 

IND research into the current security situation

Based on the guidelines of the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) and carefully selected sources, the Research and Expertise Team for Country and Language (in Dutch: Team Onderzoek en Expertise Land en Taal, or TOELT) of the IND has drawn up a report on the current security situation in Gaza and the West Bank. It is evident from this report that there is a great risk of serious damage and/or injury due to random violence, i.e. a situation as referred to in Article 15c of the EU Qualification Directive (QD) (15c situation), in all districts of Gaza. There is also armed violence in the West Bank. The risk of becoming a victim of random violence there is not so great that it constitutes a 15c situation. That is why when asylum applications are received from this territory, the individual circumstances are closely examined. This means that each application is assessed on the basis of country information, the Refugee Convention and the personal risk of serious injury on return.

UNWRA cannot provide protection

It has also emerged from the research by the IND that the organisation United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees UNRWA is unable to provide protection and assistance in Gaza. This means that refugee status must be granted to ‘UNRWA Palestinians’ from Gaza. This is different for the West Bank, as the UNWRA is still active there. In general, the organisation cannot be considered able to provide the living conditions in line with its assignment, but there are reference points showing that the UNRWA was indeed able to provide sufficient assistance or protection to individual stateless and other Palestinians. 

‘Unknown nationality’

In the asylum process the IND examines the identity, nationality and origin of an asylum seeker. Asylum seekers of Palestinian origin are often registered at the start of the process with an  ‘unknown nationality’. 
No reliable figures are available on the number of applications by Palestinian asylum seekers or the number of Palestinians undergoing the asylum process. This is because the Palestinian nationality is not recognised and foreign nationals cannot be registered as such. It holds in addition that stateless and other Palestinians can have different countries as their place of usual residence. 

For more details, see the Letter to the House of Representatives (Kamerbrief).