The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights has voiced objections against the law proposal of Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament André Bosman (VVD) to regulate the registration of persons from Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten in the Netherlands. In preparation for the handling of the law proposal in the Second Chamber, which takes place today, Wednesday, Human Rights Institute Director Laurien Koster sent a letter to President of Parliament Anouchka van Miltenburg on February 4. In the letter, the human rights watchdog expressed a number of concerns about the initiative law proposal. According to the organisation, the law proposal has a “stigmatising and prejudicial confirming effect” because all people from the overseas countries in the Kingdom “will be associated with not being able to provide for themselves or committing of serious crimes.”
The institute is especially worried about the article in the law proposal that gives police officers the authority to stop people on the street to check whether they have residency papers. This authority carries the risk of stigmatising and ethnic profiling. “There is a considerable risk that Dutch citizens from Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten, and also persons who may look like them based on their skin colour, will be confronted with these orders from police, while white, European Dutch people will not.” The law proposal differentiates between Dutch citizens from the overseas countries in the Kingdom and European Dutchmen. “This is a differentiation based on race and there is no justification for this.” The organisation pointed out that article 1 of the Dutch Constitution forbids differentiation based on race, as do a number of international and European conventions.
The fact that the islands have a national law to regulate the registration of persons from the Netherlands, the Admittance and Expulsion Law LTU doesn’t give the Netherlands the right to do the same. The institute pointed out that the LTU’s are justified, because they serve to protect the small scale of the island communities and economy. The LTU’s “serve a complete different objective than the Bosman law proposal, which aims to keep deprived, criminal Dutch Caribbean persons out of the Netherlands and that makes these admittance regulations incomparable.” According to the institute, the Bosman initiative law proposal is not in proportion to the intended objective. It counts for all persons who want to move from Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten to the Netherlands, excluding students, while the intention of the law proposal is to stop new groups of deprived, criminal Dutch Caribbean persons from coming to the Netherlands.
The watch dog organisation further questioned the fact that the residency regulation will be applicable to people from all three overseas countries, whereas it hasn’t been proven that the problems equally occur among citizens originating from all three countries.The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights explains monitors and protects human rights, promotes respect for human rights, including equal treatment in practice, policy and legislation and increases the awareness of human rights in the Netherlands.
The overseas countries have vehemently objected to the Bosman initiative law proposal, and so have various grass root organisations for Dutch Caribbean persons in the Netherlands, such as OCAN and MAAPP which deem the law proposal “racial.” OCAN called on its members and the general public to come to the Second Chamber to be present at the handling of the Bosman initiative law proposal this evening. “We consider it very important to demonstrate that we defend our civil rights,” the organisation stated in its appeal.
Last month, the Meijers Committee, a standing committee of experts of international immigration, refugee and criminal law of the Netherlands, advised against the law proposal because it is in violation of international responsibilities that the Netherlands is tied to, based on five treaties and two guidelines of the European Union (EU). According to the Committee, the law proposal “makes a direct ethnic distinction between Dutch citizens.”