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Barbara Wegelin debated on aspects of the European refugee crisis last week with advisor in international law Professor André Nollkaemper and member of parliament Malik Azmani (VVD, liberal and people’s party) in the 7th edition of the Gerbrandy debate.

The motion of the debate was: it should become impossible for non-European refugees to apply for a refugee status in the Netherlands. Barbara opposed this statement, which is supported by the VVD.

Barbara called the plan “repression disguised as humanity”, because the suggestion is that it aims to prevent drownings on the Mediterranean Sea, while in fact it aims to prevent the arrival of refugees who are not safe in their own country.

The panel members debated issues such as: are there political solutions feasible in the Netherlands and Europe? Is it just a matter of policy? And if so, how do the solutions offered by politicians (returning refugees, regional refugee facilities etc.) relate to international law and treaties?

“In order to live up to our international legal commitments in these turbulent times we must rely on a cumulative approach: we should support refugees in the region they have fled to, we should generously resettle vulnerable refugees from these regions and we should create legal pathways to seek refuge in Europe,” Barbara said.

The Gerbrandydebat is an annual event organized by the Netherlands Bar Association (Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten). This year the debate took place on 16 November 2016.

A video, pictures and a report can be found here.

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