One of the motivators to write these entries is to challenge prejudice between countries (read: people), next to expressing critical citizenship. Negative prejudice about my country is that Amsterdam is modern world Sodom & Ghomorra (sex [preferably gay], drugs, lawless child-euthanesia – I won’t go into these today), but also that we are a broad minded open tolerant society. Today, I challenge that positive prejudice.
The country has been a haven for people from other countries, especially asylum seekers from dictatorial or war-engulfed states. About 5-7 years ago, that has changed dramatically. Fueled by the 9/11 events and fear spinning wanna-be politicians, asylum seekers were suddenly earmarked as a problem and had to make an extremely good case for themselves, usually within 48 hours, were they not to be expelled. I wrote about an incident how that could go very wrong earlier. Laws and procedures were quickly and without protest changed to reflect the “new sternness”. It seems though that every rope has it’s end, or, as I was tought “the quay WILL turn the ship”.
The European court upheld a verdict, that was challenged by our administration, to change national asylum law. The verdict critisizes the judicial handling by the highest court (standard outcome of asylum cases), condemned extreme formalism, torture and inhumane punishment (!).
A few examples:
- Appeal cases are not judged against the current state of affairs in the home country, but against the state at the moment the appeal was made. Read: “We are sure you wouldn’t be tortured when you appealed our decision to send you back” – “But you know they will arrest and torture me when you send me there now!” – “Yes. So?”.
- Asylum seekers need to prove they are being discriminated or will be prosecuted on an ultra-individual level. Being in a discriminated GROUP is no argument (you know, like Jews in ’40). Read: “My people are being tortured because they are muslim” – “Yes, I see, and I know you are a muslim, but why would they torture YOU? Can you PROVE that?” – “Huh?”.
- The assessment of what’s going on in the home country is exclusively based on reports made by the foreign affairs ministry. Read: “This is the slaughter going on in my hometown” – “That is not stated in this report made 3 months ago by the ambassdor, from a city 700 miles away” – “Huh?”.
The verdict itself and yesterdays refusal of the European court for a rehearing is considered a major disgrace to the reputation, or positive prejudice if you will, of our country, and I have to say, I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know it was that bad.
Added: example “conversations”.