Submission to the UN Commission against Torture Review of the Netherlands

This submission to the UN Committee against Torture from the Open Society Justice Initiative and Amnesty International Netherlands warns that the Dutch government’s use of specialized high-security “terrorist” detention units—known as a terroristenafdeling, or “TA”—has resulted in cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

The security measures that prison officials apply to detainees in the TA have included the excessive use of solitary confinement, monitoring of family visits, limitations on reintegration, work and education opportunities, breaches of medical confidentiality, and the routine use of invasive full-nudity strip searches. It is nearly impossible to get transferred out of the TA and detainees are unable to effectively challenge the TA’s rules and procedures. Institutional oversight of the TA is also insufficient.

Open Society Justice Initiative and Amnesty International Netherlands made the submission in advance of the Committee’s November review of the Netherlands’ report on its implementation of the UN Convention against Torture.

The submission is based largely on the Open Society Justice Initiative and Amnesty International Netherlands 2017 report Inhuman and Unnecessary: Human Rights Violations in Dutch High-Security Prisons in the Context of Counterterrorism.