Posted on January 11, 2007

Dutch Failing In Efforts To Solve Ethnic Tensions, Jan. 10, 2007

The Netherlands is failing in efforts to solve multicultural problems among the nation’s youth, raising the risk of Paris-style riots in poor Dutch city districts, an assessment has indicated.

The measures that municipalities use barely contribute to the solution and are sometimes counterproductive. And very few municipalities believe that urgent change is needed.

These and other conclusions were made by four ‘intervention teams’ which had studied multicultural tensions, primarily among youth, over the past two years.

‘If we don’t look out, French situations will occur. That is uncontrollable,’ a chairman of one of the intervention teams said.

The teams — appointed by Integration Minister Rita Verdonk after the murder of Theo van Gogh in 2004 — were presenting their final report on Wednesday.

The teams claim that municipalities do not have a clear picture of the complex problems that a multicultural society creates.

City councils speak about racist ‘Lonsdale’ youths or Antilleans, failing to realise that there are large differences within these groups.

Due to the simplicity in reasoning, one-sided measures were taken that were often poorly carried out. As a result, the measures failed to have any effect, the teams said.

The intervention teams urged for an improvement in youth policies and said a more thorough study of multicultural problems should be carried out.

They said a more balanced policy was necessary, suggesting that it should focus, for example, on behaviour rather than groups.

City councils should also count on support from the national government, which should stimulate efforts and provide facilities to municipalities to tackle multicultural problems.

The intervention teams also urged for a national taskforce to be set up to focus on multicultural youth policies.

Three of the teams want to remain in place to immediately launch efforts aimed at solving multicultural problems. They would work to reduce tension between ethnic groups, improve youth safety and improve accessibility of youth welfare officers.

The team that focused on domestic violence said it should be disbanded. It said the problems it studied — such as the exploitation of women by ‘lover boys’ who seduce and trick women into prostitution — should be combated in another manner.