Antillean plan 'in breach of human rights'

8th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

8 September 2006, AMSTERDAM — Serious doubts have been raised about the legality of a second piece of legislation championed by Immigration and Naturalisation Minister Rita Verdonk.

8 September 2006

AMSTERDAM — Serious doubts have been raised about the legality of a second piece of legislation championed by Immigration and Naturalisation Minister Rita Verdonk.

The Council of State (Raad van State) has concluded Verdonk's draft law to force young Antilleans and Arubans who are jobless or in trouble with the law to leave the Netherlands is in conflict with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Last month her plan to compel tens of thousands of newcomers and oldcomers to complete an integration course also ran into trouble. Broadcaster RTL obtained a confidential report in which the Council of State advised the minister that holders of a Dutch passport, regardless of their employment status, cannot be compelled to follow an integration course. 

The Council — which evaluates government plans — has now advised the Cabinet not to send the 'Antillean' proposal to parliament in its current form, newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported on Thursday.

Apart from breaching of the human rights convention, the legislation, the Council said, unfairly differentiates between native Dutch citizens and Antillean and Aruban citizens who have Dutch nationality. Enacting the legislation into law would also create a difference between Antilleans and Arubans on one hand, and non-Dutch residents from other EU countries and holders of residence permits on the other.

The five islands of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba in the Caribbean are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

According to the Council, forced repatriation would probably not be effective anyway as an expelled individual could re-enter the Netherlands via another EU state. Under "unwritten international law" a member state cannot refuse entry at the border to its own citizens.

Verdonk's legislation opens up the possibility to make it a criminal offence for an Antillean to remain in the Netherlands after being ordered out. But the Council noted that the government decided in 2003 decided not to make being an illegal immigrant a criminal offence. Therefore it seems unjust to make an exception for Antilleans and Arubans — who are Dutch citizens.

[Copyright Expatica 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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