RNW Press Review, Friday 11 April 2008
Catch the news in brief from the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.11 April 2008
Racism alive in Waspik
De Volkskrant reports that the local council, police, youth and welfare workers and various other services collectively failed in protecting a Liberian family that fell victim to systematic bullying and abuse by a group of problem youths in the town of Waspik, The Netherlands.
The family fled the town in the autumn of last year.
A report by the Institute for Multicultural Development FORUM speaks of racist harassment and shows that the problems were systematically underestimated.
The first copy of the report was presented to integration minister Ellen Vogelaar on Thursday.
Over an 18-month period, the Liberian family was systematically bullied and threatened by a group of problem youths, who pelted the family's house with eggs and firework, and ran into the children with their mopeds.
Police took no action when the family reported the abuse, saying it was "just tomfoolery".
Later, police said they took no action because no official report had been filed.
The institute's report shows that meetings attended by as many as 25 aid workers were held, but no action was ever taken. Also, a council plan of action was never implemented. The institute's investigation uncovered that the Liberian family was not the first to be run out of town.
The other cases involved two single Ethiopian women in 1996, a Somali refugee and her baby in 1998, and a Congolese woman and her three children in 2003.
Trouw reports that an Iraqi family who moved to Waspik in 2007 has been verbally abused, but it appears to have been an isolated incident. In the past year, a total off 14 refugee families were forced to move due to bullying and harassment. Almost all of them were living in small towns.
Dutch prisons emptying out
AD reports that the Netherlands' prisons are emptying out. The paper writes that there are "fewer prisoners as a result of decreasing crime".
According to AD, the number of inmates in Dutch prisons is dropping fast.
Figures from Statistics Netherlands show that at the end of last year 14,450 people were being held, more than 10 percent less compared to 2006. For the second consecutive year there is a drop in the number of prisoners.
Criminologists attribute this to a strong decline in the number of 'petty' crimes, such as burglary and theft.
AD reports that 55 percent of all inmates are of foreign descent, a percentage that has remained stable for several years.
Stricter sentences for repeat offenders and juvenile delinquents
Somewhat surprising in light of the above report, De Telegraaf writes that the conservative VVD wants to "make criminals bleed" by introducing stricter sentencing for repeat offenders and juvenile delinquents.
The party wants to make parents pay for any damage caused by their children, and criminal aliens should be deported immediately.
The VVD argues for making it impossible to impose community service sentences on suspects accused of violent crimes or on suspects sentenced to community service twice before.
The proposals are part of a number of far-reaching measures the party wants to introduce to curb the rising number of violent crimes in the Netherlands.
The opposition party believes the cabinet’s current policy places too much emphasis on re-socialisation and not enough on strict sentences.
First mobile phone video festival held
Trouw has a report on the world's first ever mobile phone video festival being held in the northern city of Groningen. In the past few weeks, visitors to organiser Viva La Focus' website voted for their favourites among the 150 submitted mobile phone videos, which resulted in shortlists in five different categories.
Fifteen submissions will be screened tonight in the presence of an expert jury. However, Trouw writes that it has serious doubts regarding the artistic value of the submissions.
"Many fingers in front of lenses and shaky images. Most of the material lacks a beginning, an end or a gripping theme".
[Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica]