Category: ‘immigration’

Foucault on refugee crisis

1 October 2015 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

Interesting forecast of Michel Foucault in 1979 about refugees:

“Q. The refugee issue has come up many times in the past, but if there is a new historical aspect in the case of Vietnam, what might that be?  

A. In the twentieth century, genocides and ethnic persecutions happened frequently. I think that in the near future, these phenomena will happen again in new forms. First, because over the past few years, the number of dictatorial states has increased rather than diminished. Since political expression is impossible in their country and because they do not have the force necessary to resist, people repressed by dictatorship will chose to escape from their hell.

Second, in former colonies, states were created retained colonial borders as they were, so that ethnicities, languages and religions were mixed. This phenomenon creates serious tensions. In those countries, antagonisms within the population are likely to explode and bring about massive displacement and the collapse of state apparatuses.

Third, developed economic powers that needed labour from the Third World and developing countries have imported migrants from Portugal, Algeria or Africa. But, now, countries which no longer need this workforce because of technological evolution are attempting to send those migrants back. All these problems lead to that of population migration, involving hundreds of thousands and millions of people. And population migrations necessarily become painful and tragic and are inevitably accompanied by deaths and murders. I am afraid that what is happening in Vietnam is not only an after-effect of the past, but also a foreshadowing of the future.”

See for the citation:

Dutch worries on gay asylum seekers

11 December 2013 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

Do gays in legal terminology form a ‘group’ that need to fear ‘being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion’? The Netherlands has several gay asylum seekers that say they do and three of them (from Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal) convinced the Dutch Council of State to ask the European Court of Justice (of the EU) in a preliminary judgment what to think of this. In November the Court ruled that a. “the existence of criminal laws (…) which specifically target homosexuals, supports the finding that those persons must be regarded as forming a particular social group”, b. “that the criminalisation of homosexual acts per se does not constitute an act of persecution. However, a term of imprisonment which sanctions homosexual acts and which is actually applied in the country of origin which adopted such legislation must be regarded as being a punishment which is disproportionate or discriminatory and thus constitutes an act of persecution”, and c. “When assessing an application for refugee status, the competent authorities cannot reasonably expect, in order to avoid the risk of persecution, the applicant for asylum to conceal his homosexuality in his country of origin or to exercise reserve in the expression of his sexual orientation.” (See the Court judgment here.)

In other words, when it comes to asylum there is no fundamental distinction between homosexuality, religious conviction, and political conviction. Since one should not ask a political activist to ‘back down a bit’ or a believer in God to just do his prayers at night and behind closed doors, one should also not ask a homosexual to behave in public as if s/he is straight.

The decision of the Court did stir up some discussion on how many gay Muslims we may expect in the future …. and whether it is ethical to ask an asylum seeker to convince the Dutch judge that he really is gay …

Vids of the Religare seminar

10 October 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

Via this link you can watch the video’s recorded at the Religare Expert seminar on Unregistered Marriages and Alternative Dispute Resolution in European Legal Systems, held on 4 September 2012 in London. You can see the programme and then select the sessions and speakers you would like to hear.

Arif Sag and frustrations at Schiphol airport

17 May 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

2012 is the year of 400 years of Dutch-Turkish friendship. There are many official and informal festivities to celebrate this, and one was about to happen last Sunday on 13 May. Famous Turkish folk singer Arif Sag was to perform at the Concert Hall in Amsterdam.

He came for a rehearsal on Thursday and was questioned at Schiphol for his reasons to come. Sag could enter the Netherlands after he apparently could convince the border police of his friendly intentions. It took him at least ten minutes. On Sunday he was again held for questioning at Schiphol. This time it took him at least half an hour. He got so angry that he refused to enter the Netherlands, and returned home, leaving the audience waiting, Turks angry, Dutch ashamed, and the minister of integration Leers defending the Dutch border police. ‘They just did their job correctly and have acted according to the rules’, he said yesterday.

Well well … what a familiar argument …

Into the trash can … (or: good consequences from bad situations)

25 April 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

Since the break-up of the Dutch government last Friday, all political parties are back on their own ideological tracks. VVD (liberal) and CDA (christian middle) had to give in on a lot of issues to ‘gedoog'(tolerance)partner PVV (Wilders’ party). Of course, the Netherlands needs to deal with the financial crisis and not having a government is really a bad situation. On the other hand … One of PVV’s wishes was for 500 ‘animal cops’ who had to keep an aye on animal welfare and abuse. They seem to have had their day. The CDA was never a fan of them, as they say today, so the money is better spend on improving working conditions and salary of police officers and for the fight against child trafficking and pornography.

Another ‘symbolic’ hobby horse of the PVV was dual nationality. Into the trash can it went this week. The bill which obliged people to opt for a single nationality only was already set in motion, but it will not be pushed any further now that the exchange money for the support of the PVV is no longer necessary.

Then the proposal to ban the burka from the public sphere. Into the refrigerator, and probably the trash can.

Last but not least immigration and the European agenda. CDA Minister Gerd Leers (Immigration, Integration and Asylum) was under pressure from the PVV to call for a stricter asylum and migration policy. He achieved no results so far, but now he is allowed to just go for workable proposals.

Mayor vs. Minister

28 March 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

Mayor of small town Giessenlanden mrs. Els Boot ordered the local police not to cooperate in trying to evict an illegal Afgan asylum seeker. The man had worked (in an administrative function?) at the Afghan Security Agency and had to flee the Taliban regime with his family in 1998. His wife is ill and is allowed to stay with the kids, but the man needs to be evicted because the policy is not to grant asylum to officers of the Security Agency, minister Gert Leers said.

Because of the order of the mayor, Leers has a problem. His authority is defied by mayor. Police has a problem because they are law enforcers caught between contradicting orders. Afghan family has a problem because of integrated kids, a sick unintegrated mother, and an illegal father fearing to be put on a plane. Political parties and asylum seeker organizations all have another ‘example’ of the brute/fair/thelawisthelaw/degrading/inconsistent (strike through what does not conform to your opinion) consequences of the law.

Is the marriage partner a problem?

23 November 2011 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

Dutch statistic institution CBS aired new figures on marriage of ethnic minorities in the Netherlands. Headline was that ‘Four out of five of the Turks and Moroccans marry in their own circles’ (Vier op de vijf Turken en Marokkanen trouwen in eigen kring). So I started to count.

According to CBS about 34.500 people from ethnic minorities (allochthons) married in 2010, so this is ± 17.250 marriages. 1/4 of these were of Turks and Moroccans, so ± 4.300. 10% of these marriages is with an autochthon Dutch, which is ± 430 marriages of which one of the partners is native Dutch.

In 2010 overall ± 73.000 marriages between men and women were concluded. 430 of these were between native Dutch and someone with a Dutch/Turkish or Dutch/Moroccan background. This is a little over 0,5%, right? Suppose there is another 4% of ‘mixed marriages’. Just suppose …

Then we would need to conclude that over 95% of the native Dutch, in fact a higher percentage than the Turks and Moroccans, marry in ‘their own circles’? Right?

So actually, the Turks and Moroccans in the Netherlands do way better in terms of integration (if mixed marriages is a sign of integration ..) compared to the native Dutch.

‘The Netherlands are closing’ & other observations

29 October 2011 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

Interesting article in newspaper NRC this weekend. Based on interviews with eight ambassadors in NL. As is well known, outsiders can sometimes see more and better than the insiders and participants. Some quotes:

“The Dutch may go abroad for their holiday, but the country closes itself from the outside world.” (British)

“The rise of the PVV shows that you have begun to take migration seriously. But for the wrong reason. You did it because you think it is a problem. It is not. (German)

“I have never had the feeling that I should watch my bag because of thieves.” (India)

“What I admire is your directness. ‘I don’t take too much of your time, you don’t take mine.'” (Pakistan)

“Narcissistic and confused. Eurocritical and afraid of foreigners while these are necessary for economic development. Politicians and people pretend it is not safe on the streets. ” (General conclusion)

Import of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict

26 October 2011 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

In Turkey the Kurds got into conflict with the Turkish army again. 26 Turkish military were killed, and Turkey promised retaliation. As a consequence in times of globalisation, tension rose between Kurds and Turks living together abroad, like in Amsterdam. Last Saturday both groups got into a fight after a demonstration near a Kurdish cultural center.

This week there were ‘calls’ over the Internet to fight again today at a certain place in Amsterdam. The mayor quickly put an emergency measure in force, forbidding people to gather there (usually this means being with more than three persons).

Most Turkish and Kurdish organizations called for peace. “We don’t want the import of the Turkish conflict into the Netherlands and Amsterdam.”


13 July 2011 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

At the Law and Society conference in San Francisco in June this year I heard the term ‘crimmigration’ for the first time (yeah maybe I was busy reading other stuff …). Crimmigration stands for the mixing of administrative law and criminal law in regulating immigration. Back home from the US I realized this not only takes place at the US-Mexican border, but also right under my nose in the Netherlands. Government just (8 July 2011) announced that staying illegally in the Netherlands will become a criminal offence, to be punished with a fine.
The idea is that it is useless to put them in jail, because they can be held in a detention center to be deported already. The threat of a fine however, might induce them to leave the country asap.
Some loopholes remain. Aiding illegals will not be criminalized. And illegals do have a right to medical care, and their children have a right to schooling. Plus under-aged illegals are not criminalized.
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