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Repatriation and Departure Service 15th Anniversary

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By Roy Lie Atjam

‘Migration on the Move’

On 9 November 2022, the Repatriation and Departure Service -DT&V- commemorated its 15th anniversary with a symposium at the Louwman Museum The Hague. 

Together, we look back at a successful and inspiring international symposium. This symposium was specially organised on the 15th anniversary of the Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V) and took place on Wednesday 9 November 2022 in the Louwman Museum in The Hague.

The DT&V organised on this day an open discussion about the opportunities, possibilities and challenges migration professionals experience on the theme of return. A topic that is constantly on the move. During the symposium, participants were given the latest developments in national and European developments in the field of return. In this symposium, we have jointly bridged the gap between all cooperating partners and organisations.

Alessandro di Tolla, Director European Center for Returns Division – Frontex, Monika Sie Dhian Ho, Director of the Clingendael Institute, Ewald Riks, Acting General Director of the DT&V and Mari Juritsch, EU Return Coordinator – European Commission. Den Haag, 09–11-2022 Migration on the Move in Louwman museum Foto Martijn Beekman


Great interest

More than 130 participants, including ambassadors, national and international partners from the immigration process participated in the symposium. They followed an inspiring and interesting programme, facilitated by the moderator Donatello Piras. The plenary part started with a dazzling, colourful opening, which took those present along the story of Migration on the Move.

The Ambassador of Costa Rica, H.E. Mr. Arnoldo Brenes Castro and the Minister for Migration, Eric van der Burg. Den Haag, 09–11-2022 Migration on the Move in Louwman museum Foto Martijn Beekman

Partnership

Minister for Migration, Eric van der Burg, thanked the DT&V for organising this symposium and complimented the DT&V for its extensive and impressive experience as a professional implementer of return policy over the past 15 years. The Minister for Migration emphasized the importance of competent, effective implementing organisations at national level across the field of migration[BDv-B1] . “This is an important focus of the Dutch migration policy now that our national asylum system is under stress.[BDv-B2]  At the same time, it has once again become clear that a partnership approach can provide an important contribution to successful collaboration in the field of migration, including return.” The Netherlands therefore intends to work closely with countries of departure, transit and destination.

The Ambassador of El Salvador, H.E. Ms. Carmen Maria Gallardo, Minister for Migration, Eric van der Burg, and Ewald Riks, Acting General Director of the DT&V . Den Haag, 09–11-2022 Migration on the Move in Louwman museum Foto Martijn Beekman

Tailor-made return

Mari Juritsch, EU return coordinator since May this year, was the keynote speaker. Her position is new and aims to coordinate return initiatives efficiently in and with European countries. She emphasized two important ambitions. increase the number of voluntary returns and improve the quality of support for returnees. Such as increasing the investment in return counselling and services that enable reintegration as well as support for individuals with different needs.

Thus, a real tailor-made approach. This requires a large investment in the complex field of migration, she mentioned in her speech. During the panel discussion, she shows clearly her interest for the DT&V case management tool. A tool applied by the DT&V departure supervisors who is responsible for the foreign national from beginning to end in the departure process. She intends to introduce this took EU-wide.

The Ambassador of Egypt H.E. Mr. Hatem Abdelkader with the Minister of Migration and DT&V’S acting director. Den Haag, 09–11-2022 Migration on the Move in Louwman museum Foto Martijn Beekman

Panel discussion: International cooperation in return process & Tailor-made return

The panel discussion facilitated by moderator Donatello Piras was held with Alessandro di Tolla, Director European Center for Returns Division – Frontex, Mari Juritsch, EU Return Coordinator – European Commission, Monika Sie Dhian Ho, Director of the Clingendael Institute and Ewald Riks, Acting General Director of the DT&V. New insights were shared from each panellist’s perspective to work towards migration and mobility with mutual benefits, preferably at European level and in cooperation with the private sector.

Mrs Sie Dhian Ho emphasised the importance of strong agreements and real partnerships between countries in which new initiatives can flourish to improve the future of migrants. “There are great initiatives to stimulate off-shore employment.  This is for both parties a good business model.”

Mari Juritsch, EU Return Coordinator – European Commission. Den Haag, 09–11-2022 Migration on the Move in Louwman museum Foto Martijn Beekman

Participants in the room underlined that migration is more than return and that legal migration, short or long, should be taken on board when considering a partnership approach.

The Ambassador of Tunisia, H.E. Mr. Slim Ghariani, Den Haag, 09–11-2022 Migration on the Move in Louwman museum Foto Martijn Beekman
Ndey Haddy Jeng – Deputy Head of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires Ad Interim of The Embassy of The Gambia in Brussels. Den Haag, 09–11-2022 Migration on the Move in Louwman museum Foto Martijn Beekman

Keywords in the panel discussion were sustainability and customization. The participants emphasized the importance of the human dimension whereby a foreign national returns with a future perspective. Mr Riks: “I try to contribute the best I can with capacity building projects, when it is within my mandate. If it is not within my reach, I try to make the link with other ministries or organisations who might have the possibilities to support within their mandate.[BDv-B3] 

The Ambassador of Panama, H.E. Ms. Elizabeth War Neiman. Den Haag, 09–11-2022 Migration on the Move in Louwman museum Foto Martijn Beekman

There was a lively Q&A session, and Ambassadors, Diplomats and others made effective use of it. Among them the Gambia, Tunisia, Panama, Bangladesh, IOM and others. After the plenary session, a toast was proposed to the 15th anniversary of the DT&V, followed by a reception.

Den Haag, 09–11-2022 Migration on the Move in Louwman museum Foto Martijn Beekman

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