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Last Updated: Friday, 24 June, 2005, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
Netherlands halts Congo returns
Congolese police
Rights groups say deportees face abuse by authorities if identified
The Netherlands has suspended the return of failed asylum-seekers to the Democratic Republic of Congo following reports of documents being leaked.

Congolese officials are reported to have obtained confidential documents on several deportees and then abused them.

Dutch Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk announced the temporary halt to returns during a special session of parliament.

She said an independent inquiry would investigate how Dutch files may have ended up with Congolese immigration.

Mrs Verdonk came under pressure in parliament to take action following the report by the Netwerk current affairs programme on Tuesday.

On a number of occasions in the past she has reassured parliament that failed asylum-seekers' files were kept secret.

Dutch media reports that human rights organisations had also warned that deportees faced the serious risk of imprisonment, extortion and assault if unmasked as asylum-seekers.

A five-year war in DR Congo is officially over, however armed bands continue to roam parts of the east, killing, raping and looting.

DR Congo's wild east
20 Nov 04 |  Africa
Attacks harden Dutch attitudes
01 Dec 04 |  Europe
Dutch court jails Congolese man
07 Apr 04 |  Africa
Country profile: Democratic Republic of Congo
04 May 05 |  Country profiles

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