State to appeal funding ban on SGP
12 September 2005
AMSTERDAM — The government is to appeal against a decision by a court in The Hague to ban the State giving an annual EUR 800,000 grant to the small Christian Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij (SGP).
The court last week accepted the argument put forward a coalition of women’s groups that the State should not fund a party that does not allow women to be full members.
Social Affairs Minister Aart Jan de Geus said the centre-right coalition government will appeal against the court order.
Speaking on television programme ‘Debat’ on Saturday the minister confirmed comments made by his colleague, Home Affairs Minister Johan Remkes last Wednesday shortly after the judgement was handed down.
The government argues a point of principle is at stake. De Geus said the constitutional right to association was in conflict in this case with the ban on discrimination.
In deciding the SGP (Reformed Political Party) should lose state funding, the court noted that the Netherlands ratified the UN Convention on Discrimination against Women in the late 1980s.
“By this the Netherlands committed itself to taking appropriate steps to prevent discrimination of women in politics and public life. The Netherlands has not made good on the obligations arising out of the treaty,” the court said.
“The government has not taken any steps to end the discrimination against women by the SGP, but has even supported the SGP by granting a subsidy,” the court said.
The judge ruled the SGP should not receive state support as long as the party does not give women an equal standing with men in terms of membership.
The SGP also do not allow women to stand for election.
The leadership issued a statement expressing “amazement and disappointment” at the ruling. It said the loss of the subsidy would be a drain on resources but could not gauge the full impact at this stage.
The party has two MPs in the Lower House of Parliament and two Senators.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news