Dutch Government: Aggressive and Inhumane Treatment of Chaldean Refugees
Netherlands – 16 April, 2002 In an apparent
move that reflects deep changes to Holland’s image as a heaven for refugees,
the Dutch authorities has started an aggressive campaign to forcefully deport
Chaldean (including Assyrian and Syriac) Christian refugees, some of whom have
been in the country since 1996.
far, the Dutch government of Prime Minster Mr. Wim Kok has issued deportation
orders to more than 160 Chaldean refugees who have been in the country anywhere
between 2 - 6 years. Many have already been forcefully evicted from their homes
and thrown literally into the streets in a move to pressure them to return to
northern Iraq. An area proclaimed by the Dutch authorities to be a “Safe
Heaven” for those Chaldean Christians, hence, the official reason why their
applications for asylum were rejected.
aggressive tactics employed by the police to implement those deportation orders
came into the open last week when a Dutch TV cameraman caught a Chaldean mother
and her two children being forcefully evicted from their home and thrown into
the street. A Dutch policeman gave the reason for this harsh treatment bluntly
as “You came from the street and to the street you shall go. Holland will
offer you no shelter.”
reaction to this seemingly racist and clearly inhumane treatment by the Dutch
authorities, several Chaldean and Dutch Christian groups decided to join efforts
towards finding a just and lasting solution for those refugees. Both the Dutch
Union for the Christians of the Middle East and Justistia Et Pax – Netherlands
branch have written letters to several Dutch officials requesting a reversal of
those orders and the issuance of a general amnesty for all Chaldean refugees in
Holland. Meetings were also scheduled with Justice Minister Ms. Ella Kalsbeek
and other officials to discuss and explain the dangers facing those refugees if
deported to what’s called the “Safe Heaven” of northern Iraq.
to those activities are efforts by Chaldean priests in Europe as well as members
of the Founding Committee for the Chaldean National Congress around the world.
reaction to the deportation orders of the Dutch authorities (also sent to
several Kurds), the representative of the Kurdish Government in Europe wrote a
letter stating that the Kurdish authorities would not be able to care for all
refugees. That is, especially, those that have neither relatives in the “Safe
Heaven” area nor the financial ability to cover their expenses for at least
one full year.
moves by the Dutch authorities seem to follow an increase, during the last few
years, of Middle Eastern refugees entering the country illegally. However, what
seem to concern humanitarian organizations are the methods employed in solving
this problem as well as the official justifications given for forcefully
deporting those refugees.
a known fact that the so-called “Safe Heaven” is neither safe nor is a
heaven for anybody, not even the Kurds for whom was originally established by
the victorious allies during the 1991 Gulf War. Lately, several Kurdish
officials were themselves the target of assassination attempts by a Bin
Laden’s alQaeda funded Kurdish group called “Jund al-Islam” (“Soldiers
of Islam”). An extremist group that is applying same Taliban’s anti-women
rules in the areas under its control. A group also known for its open hostility
towards Chaldean Christians who are termed as “kufar” (infidels).
Adding to this insecurity, are the continuous
pressures exerted by the Kurds on the Chaldeans of the area. Acts like land
confiscation, assassinations of activists, discouraging the teaching of the
Chaldean language in Chaldean towns, as well as racist efforts to “Kurdify”
those Chaldeans by denying their unique ethnicity and claiming them as
“Christian Kurds”. Acts that hardly support the claims of a “Safe
Heaven” area nor that of the Kurdish authorities as being impartial custodians
of all the inhabitants of the area under their control, being Kurds, Chaldeans,
or Arabs .
problem with the claims of the Dutch authorities is that many of those Chaldean
refugees came from parts of Iraq under the control of the Iraqi government of
Mr. Saddam Hussein rather than that of the Kurdish authorities.
With the next Dutch general elections scheduled for 15
May, 2002 it’s hoped that the government of Prime Minister Wim Kook reconsider
its anti-refugees policies and attempt to solve their problem with what
guarantees their safety and human rights. It’s also hoped that it will heed
the calls of humanitarian agencies and issue a general amnesty ruling similar to
that issued in the United States couple of years ago and its successful
Chaldean News Agency
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