Dutch Cabinet annuls policy on Antillean high-risk youth

THE HAGUE--The Dutch government is terminating the specific policy for problematic Antilleans in the Netherlands.

Member of the Dutch Parliament's Second Chamber Martijn van Dam of the Labour Party PvdA wants to stop the cabinet from executing this measure and has submitted a motion to this effect.
Van Dam is highly critical of the plans by the governing liberal democratic VVD party and the Christian Democratic Party CDA. The previous CDA/PvdA/Christian Union government had allotted 8 million euros to the 22 so-called Antillean municipalities for projects to assist Antillean, high-risk youngsters and their families. Van Dam expressed his discontent during the handling of the 2011 draft budget of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Urbanisation and Districts last week Thursday.
"Crime among Antillean and Moroccan youngsters is high. This crime not only affects our society, but also those Antilleans and Moroccans who want to lead an honest life, but who are being stigmatised because of the behaviour of others," said Van Dam.

The Member of Parliament (MP) mentioned that the previous Minister of Urbanisation, Districts and Integration (Wonen, Wijken en Integratie) Eberhard van der Laan (PvdA) had drafted specific policy aimed at tackling the problems of Antillean and Moroccan youngsters. "And what does this cabinet do? It eliminates this policy," he said.

Van Dam lashed out at Minister Piet Hein Donner of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations for "pretending" that there was no problem in the Netherlands with the target group. "Which story will the Minister tell to people who will become a victim in the future, or to those youngsters who are being stigmatised through the behaviour of others? The Minister does nothing."
Donner didn't appear to be impressed by Van Dam's accusations. He explained that the intention of this government was to tackle crime and deal with high-risk youngsters through a general, non-specific policy.

"I concluded that we've had all kinds of programmes in the past to prevent this development, and that despite this we are still stuck with these facts. That approach has not borne sufficient fruit. Of course we can keep discussing the symptoms. I can't fight this crime by continuously initialising new programmes that have no effect," said Donner.

According to Van Dam, Antillean and Moroccan youngsters who want to make something of their lives on a daily basis have to face people looking at them with distrust. "Is that the country that we want – a country where people are judged by their ethnicity? Don't we want people to be judged based on their individual behaviour?"

The MP remarked that his party had always been in favour of taking harsh measures to curb crime and also the causes of crime. "Those causes can be found in segregation in the cities, in education, in backlogs, in poor upbringing and especially in the macho culture on the streets, where the boys teach other how to get into crime," he said.

In his motion, Van Dam called on Dutch government to stick to the policy of the former cabinet by specifically targeting Antillean and Moroccan, high-risk youngsters, thereby reducing crime among these groups.

Minister Donner advised against the motion, because he no longer wants to make funds available for projects for Antilleans and Moroccans. The motion, which will be voted on today, Tuesday, will most probably not make it, as the coalition parties VVD and CDA, supported by Party for Freedom PVV, are expected to vote against.

7 December 2010

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