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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 250-255

Torture narratives and the burden of giving evidence in the Dutch asylum procedure

physician (non-practising internist), medical anthropologist and researcher for the Amsterdam Master's of Medical Anthropology (AMMA). He has worked, since 1994, as a volunteer medical examiner for the Dutch branch of Amnesty International

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Asylum requests by victims of torture who have fled to the Netherlands are often rejected. In these cases, the torture stories of the asylum seekers have failed to convince officials judging their asylum request. The author studied the cases of asylum seekers whose claims were first rejected, but then supported by Amnesty International, and eventually, after a court appeal, received residency. The author, therefore, concludes that the initial rejections are the result of the manner in which these asylum seekers were interrogated by civil servants of the immigration authority. These civil servants appear not to want to hear the details of torture, and their attitude colludes with a tendency in the asylum seekers to avoid discussing painful experiences.

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