The Daily Herald writes what the Consultative Body of Dutch Caribbean persons in the Netherlands OCAN stated in a lengthy letter of objection to the Second Chamber on Thursday.: The “racial” law proposal of Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party to restrict the residency of persons from Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten in the Netherlands, if implemented, will result in apartheid and ethnic profiling. The Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Safety and Justice will have until next week Thursday to submit its questions and remarks about the law proposal, after which a debate will be planned. Through its letter, OCAN wants to give the Committee Members advice on why the Bosman law is a bad idea that is in violation of a number of international treaties and regulations. OCAN severely opposes the law proposal to implement residency requirements for Dutch citizens from Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten and gave no less than 15 objections. According to OCAN, Bosman’s proposal can be classified as “racial legislation” and as such it will introduce apartheid, because the law will be applicable to a specific category of Dutch citizens that are differentiated based on their ethnicity and not for other Dutch citizens from abroad. Residency restrictions are in violation of the Dutch General Law on Equal Treatment and the Race Guideline of the European Union (EU) which state that it is forbidden to differentiate in the area of social protection and social advantages. Also, municipalities may not implement requirements for certain groups, for example unemployed people. The element in the Bosman law to expel people, who don’t comply with the residency requirements when they, for example, lack a certain level of education or don’t have a job, encourages “arbitrariness, ethnic profiling and stereotyping.” Chances are great that authorities will select people based on colour to check their identity, nationality and residency status. “That is in violation of fundamental constitutional rights, such as the protection against discrimination,” stated OCAN. The EU Human Rights Treaty EVRM forbids differentiation based on race and ethnicity, while the law proposal is also in violation with the Dutch law that protects people’s personal data. Furthermore, Dutch citizens can never be considered foreigners. Undivided Dutch citizenship is a guarantee for non-discrimination and equal constitutional rights for Dutch nationality. In addition, EU citizens may not be asked for their residency status or means of livelihood when crossing borders. OCAN pointed out that Dutch Caribbean people can freely reside in the Netherlands after temporary residency in French St. Martin or in or via EU countries like Belgium and Germany, where they may not be asked for their residency status or means of living. OCAN also referred to the “highly critical” advice of the Council of State that the law proposal is in violation of the International Treaty to ban all forms of race discrimination IVRD.
According to OCAN, there are possibilities for less severe measures than to expel deprived, poorly-educated people from Dutch Caribbean countries with limited chances of success in the Dutch society. It is more effective to reduce crime and the dependence on social welfare among Dutch Caribbean persons arriving in the Netherlands, by, among other means, carrying out the recommendations of the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF to combat poverty on the islands, to improve education and health care and to create a safer and healthier environment with equal opportunities for everyone on the islands. “Combating poverty, social exclusion and education, truly guaranteeing the safeguarding of human rights in the Kingdom, as well as the reduction of drug trafficking and weapon possession is much more effective and more sustainable than the restriction or deportation of people,” stated OCAN in its five-page letter.
OCAN contended that there will always be a migration flow as long as there are big differences in wealth between the islands and the Netherlands. “Deprived people and criminals will not be kept from leaving Aruba, Curaçao or St. Maarten to build a new life in the Netherlands. The objective of the law proposal to reduce the number of criminals and people on social welfare will not be met with residency requirements.” Past reports and research have confirmed that the majority of young mature Dutch Caribbean persons come to the Netherlands to study or to work, explained OCAN. Moreover, people of Moroccan descent are more often involved in crime than Dutch Caribbean persons, and as such there is no over-representation of the latter group in the statistics. The law proposal cannot prove that the influx of Dutch Caribbean persons costs the Dutch government billions of Euros and damages the Dutch economy. Instead, the Dutch government should make an effort to invest in better relations in the Kingdom and the social-economic and cultural perspectives of people, stated OCAN. “The proposal legislation threatens these perspectives, as well as the general social cohesion through the great risk of legitimised stereotyping of black Dutch citizens.”