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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

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In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                              

Kingdom of the Netherlands (Holland)

The police are under civilian control, and prison conditions mostly meet international standards. However, people suspected or convicted of terrorism often experienced treatment that NGOs have called inhumane, including constant surveillance and regular full-body searches.

  [Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

Description: Description: Netherlands

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in the Netherlands.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Netherlands

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 29 July 2021]


The nongovernmental organization (NGO) Amnesty International in its 2019 report criticized the Netherlands’ use of special high-security detention units for persons arrested on terrorism charges and awaiting trial or convicted of terrorism, based on findings in a 2017 joint report with the Open Society Initiative. The NGO specifically noted that persons were detained in these units without individual assessments, and claimed that some security measures employed in these units, such as invasive body searches, isolation, and constant monitoring, could be considered cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Amnesty International acknowledged the government had implemented reforms for the improved treatment of such detainees since 2017, including establishing a personalized regimen for a detainee based on a risk-based assessment of the individual. The NGO, however, maintained this assessment should occur before the detainee’s placement in these detention units, not afterward.

Concluding observations on the seventh periodic report of the Netherlands

Committee against Torture, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights OHCHR, 20 November 2018

[accessed 8 December 2018]

CRIMINALIZATION OF TORTURE -- 7. While noting the  State  party’s willingness to  consider torture  as a “manifestly unlawful” crime set forth in section 11 (3) of the International Crimes Act, the Committee is concerned by the absence of specific legislation defining torture in conformity with articles 1 and 2 of the Convention applicable in all the constituent countries of the State party.  It also regrets the lack of clear information on whether a crime of torture is not subject to statute of limitation  in  all  constituent countries  of  the  State  party.  In  addition,  it  is  concerned  that domestic legislation concerning torture is not harmonized throughout the State party (arts. 1, 2 and 4).

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 18 May 2020]


The police are under civilian control, and prison conditions mostly meet international standards. However, people suspected or convicted of terrorism often experienced treatment that NGOs have called inhumane, including constant surveillance and regular full-body searches.

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on the Netherlands

Council of Europe COE, 19 January 2017

[accessed 4 June 2020]

ILL-TREATMENT -- 13.The CPT notes positively that hardly any person interviewed by the visiting delegation who was  or  who  had  in  the  recent  past  been  in  police  custody  complained  about  ill-treatment  by  the police.  On  the  contrary,  many  persons  with  whom  the  delegation  spoke  stated  explicitly  that  they had  been  treated  correctly  and  respectfully  by  the  police  and  appreciated  their  politeness  and professionalism. That  said,  a  few  isolated  allegations  were  received  of  unduly  tight  handcuffing  of  persons apprehended by the police. In one case, the delegation could still observe parallel linear-shaped red marks on the wrist which were consistent with the allegations made.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture [PDF]

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/NET/CO/4 (2007)

[accessed 4 March 2013]

Fundamental safeguards

6. Notwithstanding the State party’s establishment in 2006 of a “programme to enhance and strengthen the quality of the performance of police officers and prosecutors” (CAT/C/NET/Q/4/Rev. 1/Add. 1, par. 50) in the

European part of the Kingdom, the Committee is concerned that persons in police detention do not have access to legal assistance during the initial period of interrogation. Similarly, the Committee is concerned that in the Netherlands Antilles, the presence of a lawyer during interrogation is only permitted with the prior authorization of a magistrate.

Pre-trial detention

10. The Committee expresses its concern at the excessive length of pre-trial detention and the high number of non-convicted detainees in Aruba and in the Netherlands Antilles.

Education on the prohibition against torture

14. While noting the different training programmes for police and prison officers in the three constituent parts of the Kingdom, which cover human rights and rights of detainees including the prohibition of torture, the Committee regrets that there is no available information on the impact of the training or its efficacy in reducing incidents of torture, violence and ill-treatment.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015

REFUGEES, ASYLUM-SEEKERS AND MIGRANTS - Immigration detention continued to be used excessively, despite the introduction of pilot alternative schemes for particular categories of migrants and asylum-seekers. Conditions in immigration detention centres largely mirrored those in criminal detention facilities.

The transparency of the Commission for Comprehensive Supervision of Return (Commissie Integraal Toezicht Terugkeer, CITT), the body overseeing forced removals and one of the national preventative mechanisms under the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, remained limited. Annual reports published by the CITT do not include specific data on the use of force in individual removal proceedings.

In October, the new coalition government proposed criminalizing unlawful residency, leading to concerns over further marginalization and increased vulnerability of undocumented migrants.


For more articles:: Search Amnesty International’s website

[accessed 9 January 2019]

Scroll Down


Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 1   Civil Liberties: 1   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 6 February 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

The judiciary is independent, and the rule of law prevails in civil and criminal matters. The police are under civilian control, and prison conditions meet international standards.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 6 February 2013]

[accessed 4 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices, and there were no reports that government officials employed them.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Netherlands",, [accessed <date>]