Databank for information on Antillean problem youngsters

The administration of law department of the State Council decided today that the Dutch government is allowed to store the personal information of Antillean and Aruban problem young persons in a databank, the so-called Reference Index Antilleans (VIA-Verwijsindex Antillianen).

With that decision, the highest administrative judge annuls a court verdict in The Hague. The court ruled in favour of the Foundation Deliberative Body Caribbean Dutch Citizens (OCaN) in June of 2007 and said that the database is in breach of the Law protection personal information. The Protection of Personal Information (CBP) dispensed the minister with the processing of the personal data of Antilleans. To the opinion of the State Council, the CBP ‘made it convincing that the problem of Antillean high risk young persons is more serious than that of other high risk groups’. It is furthermore concluded that granting dispensation is not in breach with the discrimination ban laid down in the Constitution and several international treaties. The State Council is of the opinion that distinction in this case is ‘legitimate aim’ and processing data is ‘suitable’ for achieving that aim. The decision of the administration of law department of the State Council cannot be appealed.

OCaN says that there was no need for processing these information in a database, and it is considered discrimination, because only information of Antilleans in stored in the VIA. The CBP has consented to run a pilot with the database for two years. The OCaN successfully contested that. The cabinet then started working on a bill for a more general index of ‘high risk young persons’, with no distinction of ethnic origin.

The VIA is a national database containing identified- and reference data of 25 years and younger persons born in the Antilles or Aruba, or of parents, who at least one was born in the Antilles or Aruba. Information of Antilleans that meet one or more of the so-called bottleneck criteria that the minister has set, is stored in the database. These criteria are among others not being registered in the basic administration of the municipality, having problems with compulsory education, having rent arrears, and having committed a violence offence and/or drug offences.

The reference data do not contain information as regards content, but only information to be able to determine whether one of the participating local institutions knows the youngster, and if so, who is his/her contact-person. The minister hopes that by keeping that information in a database, he can get more grip of the Antillean high risk young persons, and so be able to better smooth away their disadvantage position and tackle the criminality caused by them, better.

The former minister Rita Verdonk (Integration) has started off the database. She wanted to do this, because the Antillean high-risk persons younger than 25 are very mobile and do not always register in the municipal register.

(Source: National Newspaper Amigoe)

3 September, 2008

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