Open Letter to Lodewijk Asscher (the new Vice-Prime Minister of Holland)

Amsterdam, 1 November 2012   Dear Lodewijk, You have surprised us again. You are moving from Amsterdam to The Hague. From vice-Mayor you will be Vice-Prime Minister. In Amsterdam you decided that the tent camp of refugees on the street was a demonstration. Therefore it could stay. Thank you. We are a group of citizens from Amsterdam and elsewhere, who are shocked by the injustice tnat has become visible through a range of actions by asylum seekers who have exhausted their procedures. We are people who want to help to find a solution. We are also here to look with the refugees and listen to them, to people fighting for their existence. One of us, Thomas Spijkerboer, professor of Migration Law at the Free University, gave a public lecture last Wednesday in the camp in Osdorp. He explained in English, Dutch and French what you, your party (PvdA) and your Government have in mind for refugees, asylum seekers and those who have been turned down. We can sum up the reactions of the shocked refugees in one word: Why? Why do you, and your party, continue with making a law that makes illegal residency a crime?Why do you pardon children and make room for trafficked and maltreated women and do you not try to deal with the essence of the problem. The essence is that Nederland does not know how to deal with the 50.000 people who have got stuck in the swamp. They do not get a chance to make a life here. They cannot travel to another country. They cannot and dare not return to their own countries. They have nowhere to go. And you tell them now that they can demonstrate, but at the same time you declare them criminal offenders for being here. We are at a loss to explain your position. We know Lodewijk Asscher as a man who is always prepared to explain his policies and test them in the neighbourhoods and school of Amsterdam. Do stick to that habit as you move to The Hague! Surprise us once more before you leave. Come to the camp en tell the campers what you are doing. There are camps in Amsterdam and in The Hague, so you have a choice. With warm regards Jo van der Spek M2M, Migrant 2 Migrant Foundation Thomas Spijkerboer, Free University Mieke Maassen en Marjan Sax, Women against Deportation.

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