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8/2 Mayor’s portrait

8/2 Websites for social cohesion

7/2 Spreading tourism proceeds with difficulty

7/2 GroenLinks on districts: Be a man

6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

5/2 The truth about integration

4/2 Wilders has little support on Amsterdam

3/2 Elite involved in neighbourhood

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31/1 Wooden rowing boats to disappear from Amstel

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27/1 A few were still coughing, but that was an act

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26/1 Youth have positive view of districts

24/1 Action groups call for Carmel and Jaffa boycott

24/1 PvdA members dismiss plan for districts

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21/1 Merge districts

20/1 Closing squat bar Vrankrijk not necessary

20/1 Cleaners welcome new Schiphol director

18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

17/1 PvdA Oost against fewer districts

16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

15/1 Bait bike leads to arrest

14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

13/1 New Youth for Christ contoversy

11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

9/1 Supermarket coupon fraud thwarted

9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

7/1 Snow

7/1 Fatima Elatik to run Zeeburg

7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

1/1 Thousands to protest against attacks on Gaza

1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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Refuse to carry out razzias

3 October 2006 – The municipality must refuse to hunt down undocumented residents and if necessary resort to civil disobedience. Jelle Houtsma, member of the Centrum district council for the Social Democrat PvdA, said so in response to Minister Rita Verdonk’s plan to give a financial reward to police corpses if they arrest a sufficient number of undocumented residents.

Houtsma has contacted his fellow PvdA-members in the city council, who still have to determine their position. Council member Daniel Sajet said that he is investigating the issue.

According to their performance contract, police corpses will have to put 11.883 undocumented residents in jail next year. This amounts to five to ten percent of the estimated number of undocumented residents in the Netherlands. The contract will probably lead to innocent people, including families with children, being jailed.

Reportedly, the agreement on undocumented residents was included in the contract at the urging of Minister Rita Verdonk. Initially she denied a report in the Trouw newspaper about the agreement. Today, however, she has admitted that the agreement has been made, the ANP news agency reports.

Houtsma says that the idea of financially rewarding the hunt after undocumented residents makes him sick. He says that he is shocked that there was hardly any response to the plan in the Netherlands, also within the PvdA and other parties.

Foreign media seem to be more interested in the issue than their Dutch colleagues. Houtsma says that the BBC and the French newspaper Libération would have contacted sources in the Netherlands about the issue.

In the Netherlands, the editor in chief of a television programme on history, Ad van Liempt, has compared the performance contract to the prize that was awarded for the arrest of Jews during the Second World War. He acknowledges that the circumstances are different, but “it is still bloody tasteless, not to say perverted to use a financial incentive as a policy tool for reducing the number of undocumented residents in the Netherlands”.

To Business News Radio, Mayor Job Cohen denied categorically that the performance contract will lead to a hunt after undocumented residents. According to the mayor, the police are focussed on criminals. However, it is possible that they will encounter innocent undocumented residents during the course of their inspections.

These remarks remind one of the massive police actions carried out in 2002. According to the police, these raids where aimed at ‘robbers’ dens’. Cohen said at the time: “We are not focussed on undocumented residents, but on criminals”. However, the people who were arrested were deported without seeing a judge.

Rens den Hollander of the Autonoom Centrum responded in the Parool: “Families were involved. Where they all criminals? Is a prostitute a criminal? No judge was involved. Where is the evidence that these were criminals? An undocumented resident who is a criminal must be brought to justice. And then maybe he can be deported”.

In hindsight, one cannot but conclude that the label ‘criminal’ was used opportunistically to justify the raids.

Houtsma says that he recently had dinner with an undocumented family that has been living in the Netherlands for eleven years. The daughters are ‘simply Amsterdam girls with a heavy Amsterdam accent’.

Some time ago, four police vans showed up unexpectedly at their house, at a moment when they happened not to be home. Ever since, they have been living in fear. Because of the performance contract, the “pressure, the insecurity and the fear only increase”, Houtsma says.

The left-wing city government should have the political courage not to accept this development, Houtsma thinks. After all, it also showed such courage when the national government wanted to privatise Schiphol Airport.


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