Ambassadors protest Dutch rightwing website

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Ten eastern European countries have sent a letter of protest against an anti-immigrant website by a Dutch rightwing party, Tuesday calling on The Hague to distance itself from the initiative.

The open letter, of which AFP was sent a copy, was signed by ambassadors and representatives including from Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Romania.

It "expressed concern" over the website by the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) where readers can lodge complaints against eastern European migrants.

"Targeting a selected group of people living in the Netherlands is clearly discriminatory and degrading in its intents and purposes," the letter said.

"We invite Dutch society and its political leaders to distance themselves from this deplorable initiative," added the letter, published Tuesday.

The Freedom Party, whose anti-Islamist leader Geert Wilders was acquitted of hate speech last year, launched the site titled "Report Middle and Eastern Europeans" last week.

Respondents can tick a "yes" or a "no" when asked whether they have experienced "nuisances" such as loud noise, parking, drunkenness, squalor or the loss of jobs to migrant workers from eastern European countries.

Since the PVV site went live last Wednesday, it has drawn a spate of criticism including from the European Commission, which said Friday that it "completely went against the principles" of freedom and the free movement of people in Europe.

Dutch left-wing parties and Premier Mark Rutte's own ruling coalition partner, the Christian Democratic Action (CDA) have also pressed him to condemn the site.

But Rutte, whose ruling coalition in the 150-seat lower house is dependent on support from the PVV's 24 lawmakers, has remained silent on the issue.

The PVV's Wilders however, Monday told Dutch media the complaint was a "waste of time", asserting that the website was not discriminatory but merely served to highlight issues regarding migrant labour.


© 2012 AFP

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