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The Global Legal Monitor is an online publication from the Law Library of Congress covering legal news and developments worldwide. It is updated frequently and draws on information from official national legal publications and reliable press sources. You can find previous news by searching the Global Legal Monitor.

Netherlands: Safe Countries of Origin List Expanded

(Oct. 27, 2016) The Dutch Minister for Migration, Klaas Dijkhoff, has expanded the list of countries deemed by the Netherlands to be “safe countries of origin,” to include Algeria, Georgia, the Ukraine and Tunisia, according to an October 11, 2016 announcement. (Minister for Migration Further Expands List of Safe Countries, Ministry of Security and Justice website (Oct. 11, 2016).) Such countries are ones that are sufficiently safe and asylum applicants can return to them without risk. The Dutch government tends to reject the applications for asylum from nationals of those countries; the list therefore serves to quicken the asylum application process. (What Is the List of Safe Countries of Origin?, Government of the Netherlands website (last visited Oct. 24, 2016).) The current list already includes more than 50 jurisdictions.  (Minister for Migration Further Expands List of Safe Countries, supra.)

For asylum seekers from safe countries, applications for asylum are handled under an accelerated procedure consisting of one interview and “may be rejected as manifestly unfounded,” meaning that the rejected applicant must immediately leave the Netherlands and also be subject to “an entry ban for the entire Schengen Area for a period of two years.” (Minister for Migration Further Expands List of Safe Countries, supra.)  While asylum seekers from safe countries of origin will have chance to show why the given country may not be safe in their specific circumstances and can appeal a rejection decision, they are typically not permitted to remain in the Netherlands while awaiting a court decision.  (Id.; What Is the List of Safe Countries of Origin?, supra.)  In the case of Algeria and Tunisia, the countries are safe countries of origin except for LGBT residents, while for Georgia and Ukraine there is an exception for asylum applicants from “certain areas that are not controlled by the authorities.”  (Minister for Migration Further Expands List of Safe Countries, supra.)

Reportedly, Dijkhoff plans to further expand the list by assessing whether “Bangladesh, Brazil, Chad, Colombia, Cuba, Honduras, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Nepal, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa” belong on it. (Id.)

A Ministry of Justice research report, said to be the first investigation of differences in admittance procedures in the European Union, was cited in the press earlier as indicating that “The Netherlands has one of the toughest refugee policies within Europe,” and that refugees were “less likely to be given a residency permit in the Netherlands than in Germany, Belgium or Sweden … .” (Dutch Refugee Policy Is One of the Toughest in Europe, DUTCH NEWS.NL (Feb. 4, 2016); Arjen Leerkes, How (Un)Restrictive Are We?, Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek- en Documentatiecentrum (2015).)

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Indonesia: Child Protection Law Revised

(Oct. 25, 2016) On October 12, 2016, Indonesia’s parliament enacted a regulation to revise the 2002 Law on Child Protection. (Chandni Vatvani, Indonesia Passes Law Approving Harsher Punishments for Child Rapists, CHANNEL NEWS ASIA (Oct. 13, 2016).) Under strengthened provisions on child sexual offenses, defendants accused of sexual attacks on children could face the death penalty, life in prison, or, for male offenders, chemical castration with female hormones, combined in some cases with imprisonment. After release from prison, offenders could be ordered to wear a tracking device. The revised legislation does not contain details on how the new penalties would be implemented. (Chandni Vatvani, Controversy over Chemical Castration Law in Indonesia, CHANNEL NEWS ASIA (Oct. 20, 2016); Govt Prepares Implementation of Child Sex Offender Reforms, JAKARTA GLOBE (Oct. 24, 2016); Undang-undang Republik Indonesia Nomor 23 Tahun 2002 Tentang Perlindungan Anak [Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 23 of 2002 on Protection of Children], House of Representatives website; Law on Child Protection (No. 23/2002) (abstract), NATLEX.)

On October 20, 2016, the Indonesian government announced that it is drafting regulations that will provide the necessary guidance for officials in implementing the revised Law. (Govt Prepares Implementation of Child Sex Offender Reforms, supra.) Two of the regulations will concern carrying out the new penalty provisions and will be drafted by the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection. Yohana Yembise, the head of that Ministry, said that her office will work with several other ministries on the regulations and that they will include provisions on social rehabilitation of offenders. (Id.)


In April 2016 a particularly brutal crime, the gang rape of a 14-year-old girl in Bengkulu, Sumatra, led to outraged Indonesians calling for more severe punishments for sex offenses victimizing children. (Controversy over Chemical Castration Law in Indonesia, supra.) As a result, increased punishments were adopted through a “presidential regulation.” On May 25, 2016, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo issued a regulation in lieu of law (called a perppu in Indonesian), Perppu No. 1/2016, that amended the 2002 Law on Child Protection, in effect operating as a place holder while the legislature worked on passing the revisions to the Law. (Ayomi Amindoni, Govt Issues Perppu on Sexual Violence Against Children, JAKARTA POST (May 25, 2016); Constance Johnson, Indonesia: Regulation on Sexual Violence Against Children Issued, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (May 27, 2016).)


While the government has said the changes are needed to deter perpetrators from committing heinous crimes against children, the new provisions have not received universal approval. (Govt Prepares Implementation of Child Sex Offender Reforms, supra.) Magdalena Sitorus, Commissioner of the National Commission on Violence Against Women, noted that the legislators were probably “impatient to resolve the issue of sexual violence,” but that chemical castration is a violation of human rights. She added that the Commission agrees that tough measures are needed against sexually violent criminals, but that the Commission “doesn’t agree that it should be the death penalty. It should be a harsh punishment which must be also monitored strictly.” (Controversy over Chemical Castration Law in Indonesia, supra.)

In addition, the Indonesian Doctors’ Association has said that performing chemical castrations would violate their code of ethics and not solve the problem. The Association’s Chairman, Dr. Daeng Muhammad Faqih, has proposed rehabilitation instead of castration, saying, “[f]rom a scientific viewpoint, this is less effective because the intervention that is happening is hormonal, physically. Whereas according to medical studies, the cause of sexual crimes is not a hormonal issue, but a mental disorder.” (Id.) He added patients must consent to medical procedures and that the laws on practicing medicine say that doctors “must only take that action in the context of medical services. Chemical castration is not a medical service.” (Id.)

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Sweden/ECHR: Court Rejects Deportation of Iraqis Connected to U.S. Forces

(Oct. 20, 2016) On August 23, 2016, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued a judgment against Sweden for attempting to deport three Iraqi citizens in violation of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits subjecting persons “to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”  The judgment thereby overturned an earlier ECHR decision.  (Case of J.K. and Others v. Sweden, App. No. 59166/12, E.C.H.R. Grand Chamber, Aug. 23, 2016, HUDOC; Case of J.K. and Others v. Sweden, App. No. 59166/12  E.C.H.R. Fifth Section, June 4, 2015, HUDOC.)


The applicants, an Iraqi family, were denied asylum in Sweden in November of 2011 on the grounds that they had not demonstrated that they were “otherwise in need of protection.” (Case of J.K. and Others v. Sweden [2016], supra, ¶ 17.)  The family had claimed that they were individually persecuted by Al Qaeda and that the Iraqi police force could not protect them.  (Id.)  Specifically, the applicants claimed that their business and home had been destroyed in 2006, their daughter had been killed in 2008, and they had felt compelled to shift their location in Baghdad thereafter, from 2008-2011.  (Id. ¶ 13.)  The Swedish authorities, taking all the threats in sum, found that the family had been persecuted but  was not in need of immediate protection as it had not been in danger after 2008.  (Id. ¶ 17.)

The previous chamber decision agreed with the Swedish authorities’ assessment of the situation and came to the conclusion that the applicants had not sufficiently proven that a return to Iraq would put them at “a real risk of being subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3” of the Convention. (Id. ¶ 60.)

Judgment of the Grand Chamber 

The EHCR found that:

the fact of past ill-treatment provides a strong indication of a future, real risk of treatment contrary to Article 3, in cases in which an applicant has made a generally coherent and credible account of events that is consistent with information from reliable and objective sources about the general situation in the country at issue. In such circumstances, it will be for the Government to dispel any doubts about that risk. (Id. ¶ 102.)

The Grand Chamber, in determining the case, looked at the present-day dangers rather than those presented in 2011 (id. ¶ 113) and found, citing the U.S. Department of State, that the situation has deteriorated since 2011.  (Id. ¶ 120.)  The Court especially considered the fact that the family, because the father had done business with the United States at Victoria Camp, was part of “the group of persons systematically targeted for their relationship with American Forces.”  (Id. ¶ 117.)  Because they belonged to this group, and were not merely members of the public at large, the Court found the Iraqi government could not provide them sufficient protection;  instead, the situation creates “a real risk of ill-treatment in the event of their return to Iraq.”  (Id. ¶ 121.)

In conclusion, the Grand Chamber found “that substantial grounds have been shown for believing that the applicants would run a real risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 if returned to Iraq. Accordingly, the Court considers that the implementation of the deportation order in respect of the applicants would entail a violation of Article 3 of the Convention.”  (Id. ¶ 123.)


Seven judges dissented from the decision, six of whom argued that although they agreed that there had been persecution of the applicants, the case hinged on whether the Swedish state “would be fulfilling its obligations under the substantive limb of Article 3 if it were to execute the authorities’ decision to expel the applicants to Iraq.” (Joint Dissenting Opinion of Judges Jäderblom, Gritco, Dedov, Kjølbro, Kucsko-Stadlmayer, and Polackova, Case of J.K and Others v. Sweden [2016], supra, at 57, ¶ 4.)  The dissent argued that the Swedish state’s judgment had not been sufficiently considered by the Court and found that the evidence presented by the applicants before the Swedish authorities did not substantiate, but rather undermined, their case; therefore the burden of proof did not shift to the Swedish state to “dispel any doubts about the risk of such persecution in the future.”  (Id. ¶ 7.)  They noted especially that the applicants had two daughters who were living in Iraq without needing to go into hiding.  (Id. ¶ 10.)

Dissenting Judge Ranzoni set out a test requiring the state to dispel any doubts on the risk of persecution only if the following conditions are met:

  1. if the asylum-seeker has made a coherent and credible account of events of past ill-treatment which met the Article 3 threshold;
  2. if the account is consistent with information from reliable and objective sources about the situation in the country at issue, providing a serious indication of a future, real risk of such ill-treatment; and
  3. if the asylum-seeker has indicated substantial and concrete grounds for believing that the risk of further such ill-treatment still persists. (Dissenting Opinion of Judge Ranzoni, id. at 61, ¶ 11.)

He considered that the standards of this test had not been met in the case at hand. (Id.)

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UAE: Possible New Regulations for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

(Oct. 19, 2016) The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is reportedly working on enacting new laws to more tightly regulate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.  Mohammed Faisal al-Dossari of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has been quoted as saying “[t]he Emirates Authority for Standardisation & Metrology (Esma) is working on laws that will have a framework for the UAE for imports, sales, and performance of drones.”  (Stanley Carvalho, UAE to Introduce New Laws Soon to Regulate Drones, REUTERS (Sept. 26, 2016).)  The new laws “will also address air-worthiness for heavier drones, standards for pilotless aircraft and pilot training among other issues,” according to Dossari.  (Id.)

Existing law defines aircraft as “any machine that can derive support in the atmosphere from the reactions of the air other than the reactions of the air against the earth’s surface. This comprises fixed-wing and variable-wing aircraft as well as balloons and the like, when used for civil purposes.” (Federal Act No. 20 (1991) Promulgating the Civil Aviation Law, art. 1.7 (1991 Law).)  As this definition is broad enough to cover unmanned aircraft, these are therefore covered by various provisions related to civil aviation.

The Ministry of Communications has the authority to “supervise all matters related to civil aviation and its development in the State.”  (Id. art. 4.)  This and other provisions, such as article 20 of the 1991 Law, related to establishing rules of the air, allow the government to regulate the use and operation of drones through executive orders, without the need to enact new laws.

Recreational use of drones is allowed on the conditions that the user is registered with the General Civil Aviation Administration (GCAA), the drone is not equipped with drop or release devices, the flying range is not more than 400 feet above ground, and other requirements specifically indicated in the initial issue of the regulation titled Operation of Unmanned Aerial Systems Within the United Arab Emirates.  (For the regulation and related information, see An Unmanned Aerial System, GCAA (last visited Oct. 19, 2016); see also Registration, GCAA (last visited Oct. 17, 2016).)  However, one of the emirates, Abu Dhabi, “has banned the sale of recreational drones since March last year.” (Carvalho, supra.)

Commercial or other non-recreational uses are also permitted, provided operators meet additional requirements, including passing an exam and obtaining operational approval before each flight. (Registration, supra.)  Currently, “[a]t least 400 drones, mostly commercial, are registered with the GCAA.” (Carvalho, supra.)

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Curaçao: Tax Reform Measures

(Oct. 18, 2016) It was reported on October 7, 2016, that the Curaçao government had introduced a number of major tax reform measures, with retroactive effect for some provisions from January 1, 2016; other provisions enter into force on January 1, 2017. (Alfred Krieger, Curaçao: Tax Reform: Main Legislative Changes with Retroactive Effect as per 1 January 2016, TAX NEWS SERVICE (Oct. 7, 2016), International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation (IBFD) online subscription database,; Tax Alert: National Ordinance on Pension Savings Schemes, Repair and Modernization of Tax Ordinances (Tax Alert), KPMG Meijburg & Co Caribbean website (Sept. 23, 2016).)

The National Ordinance on Pension Saving Schemes, Repair and Modernization of Tax Ordinances (short title) amends some 19 different tax-related laws. (Landsverordening pensioensparen , reparatie en modernisering belastingverordeningen … (July 15, 2016), PUBLICATIEBLAD (Curaçao’s official gazette) 2016, No. 37, Government of Curaçao website.) Some highlights of the amendments are listed below.


  • The Ordinance provides that “statutory mergers and demergers of enterprises will no longer trigger personal income tax or profits tax on book profits for tax purposes and/or hidden reserves, if the merger or demerger is predominantly motivated by business or commercial reasons” (Tax Alert, supra, at 4);
  • Petitions seeking fiscal unity and a facilitated merger are to be decided on within three months; petitions for a transparent company or an “exempt BV” (Besloten Vennootschap, a private limited liability company) must be decided on within two months; and the Ordinance introduces the opportunity to object if a taxpayer petition is denied by the tax authority or the decision-making deadline has expired (Krieger, supra);
  • The tax rate for dividend distributions by an exempt BV is 19.5% (id.);
  • Companies are required to maintain transfer pricing documentation (id.);
  • The profit tax rate is newly set at a flat rate of 22% (versus the previous 25% rate) (id.; Curaçao: Corporate – Taxes on Corporate Income, PWC WORLDWIDE TAX SUMMARIES (last reviewed June 1, 2016);
  • Accelerated depreciation is abolished (Krieger, supra);
  • Gifts up to an amount of ANG250 (about US$141) may be paid tax-free to employees (id.); and
  • As of January 1, 2017, employees will have a statutory obligation to provide proof of identity to their employers, and the employer “must check the identity documents and keep them on file” (Tax Alert, supra, at 3).

Permanent Establishments

As of January 1, 2017, for non-resident or non-Curaçao-based employers to qualify as permanently established in Curaçao, they must meet two minimum requirements:

1) have a site “where a building is to be realized or where construction or assembly work that takes more than 30 days will be carried out” (id. at 4), and

2) provide “intermediary services to persons who will personally carry out paid work in Curaçao and to third parties for whom work will be carried out” (id.).  The party that is obliged to pay wages will be deemed as the withholding agent in these two cases.  (Id.)

Insurance and Deductions

  • For personal income tax purposes, a life insurance premium is deductible up to the maximum amount of ANG1,500 (about US$847); that amount will be ANG 3,000 for the fiscal years 2017 and 2018 and ANG5,000 for the fiscal year 2019 (Krieger, supra);
  • For personal income tax purposes for fiscal year 2016, a maximum amount of ANG1,500 “is deductible for payments to a savings or investment account and if the amount is used for the purchase of life insurance” (id.); and
  • A fire insurance premium is no longer deductible for personal income tax purposes (id.).

Real estate

  • Depreciation of real estate is only permitted “if and insofar as [its] book value … is more than 50% of the value … used for real estate tax purposes” (id.);
  • The Ordinance established an exemption for transfer tax on real estate when a business is transferring to a corporate entity, in cases of merger or reorganization (id.).


  • The Ordinance introduces additional options for forming old-age pensions, in the form of a “third pillar” supplementing general old-age insurance and any applicable company pension; the new options “have been given shape by allowing a higher deduction of premiums for annuity policies and [introducing] what is known as tax-facilitated bank savings (gefacilieerd banksparen)” (Tax Alert, supra, at 1);
  • Some claims pursuant to pension schemes and life insurance are exempt from inheritance tax (Krieger, supra); and
  • For certain types of social insurance, such as the accrued General Old Age Pension, non-resident claimants/recipients will receive 75%, instead of 100%, of the benefit (id.).


  • The tax collector has the right, since January 1, 2016, to charge interest on outstanding tax debts (id.); the levy applies “retroactively to assessments of all types that are outstanding as of April 1, 2016,” and the rate will be determined on the basis of one-sixth of the statutory interest rate (Tax Alert, supra, at 6);
  • The Ordinance established “sustainable housekeeping,” “which occurs if two individuals have the mutual obligation to contribute to the costs of living by a cohabitation notary deed,” a deed that “must be in effect for at least 1 year before the date of death and the partners should be registered and actually residing at the same address” (Krieger, supra); and
  • In regard to electronic filing, the tax inspector must immediately send acknowledgment of receipt of an electronic return, and options for filing electronic returns have been introduced in connection with the various types of social insurance, e.g., general old-age pension insurance, basic health insurance, and severance pay (Tax Alert, supra, at 5).

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