Families belong together

Families belong together. Sign the petition!

If there’s one thing everyone understands, it is that we will not rest until we know our loved ones are safe, whether they live near by or far away.

But right now, families are kept apart for an unnecessarily long period of time. They often have to wait months or years to receive an answer from the Dutch government. It does not need to be this way. Sign the petition and ask the Dutch government to bring refugee families together more quickly. Because families belong together.

What’s happening?   

Fleeing families separated by war or persecution have the right to be together. This is called family reunification. On paper this is well regulated by the Netherlands. But the practice is different. Fleeing families find themselves in a tangle of unnecessary bureaucracy and regulations, leaving family members in limbo and insecurity even longer.  As a result, a process that takes several months on paper can take up to 2 years   

One of the causes of the delay is that family members often have to make unnecessarily dangerous journeys in order to reach a Dutch embassy for an interview or to collect their visa. In the country where they are located, an embassy is not always present. This leads to unsafe situations for many families, while safer and faster alternatives exist.

Covid-19 illustrates extra why things have to be done differently: waiting times have become longer and many embassies that play an important role in family reunification have been closed, leaving families unnecessarily separated for a longer time.

What needs to change?    

The government has a choice; politicians and policymakers can make other decisions to bring refugee families back together, with a process that is faster, smoother and safer.

Faster, smoother and safer   

Last year, the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR released a report on family reunification in the Netherlands, with recommendations with recommendations to make the procedure faster, smoother and safer for everyone. But how?

  • Faster: Avoid duplication. Link the family reunification procedure to the asylum procedure, so that a refugee does not have to submit a double application. This saves work for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) and for the refugees, and shortens the process by at least 3 months, which means that refugee families are reunited more quickly.    
  • Fairer: There needs to be a greater understanding of the situation of refugees. Documents that the government requires are not always to be found in countries where there is oppression/persecution, violence or war.  Sticking to these unrealistic requirements s takes  an unnecessary amount of work and time from everyone, while there are good/viable and faster alternatives! The IND can for example bring families together on the basis of evidence that families do have, such as photos or a birth certificate.   
  • Safer: Family members often have to make unnecessarily long journeys through unsafe areas, and sometimes even cross dangerous borders, to pick up their visas at a Dutch embassy. There are simpler and safer alternatives to handing these families the right papers. UNHCR asks for rules to be adapted and, for example, to give consulates the same powers as embassies to issue visas.   

Join us and sign the petition!

These solutions are possible and would make a huge difference to refugee families who want nothing more than to be together again. ⏲️

Please support the petition and ask the Dutch government to bring families together more quickly, more smoothly and more safely. Because families belong together!

Ben & Jerry’s

We are happy with the support of Ben & Jerry’s, ice-cream makers with activistic roots. Ben & Jerry’s calls on its fans to show the government that they stand with these solutions.

Ben & Jerry’s is committed to promoting refugee rights in Europe. Recently founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were present at UNHCR’s Global Refugee Forum in Geneva to show their support for refugees. They launched a new ice-cream flavor: Cone Together.