By the Flying Dutchman,
December 14th, 2017
[aesop_content color=”#000000″ background=”#ffffff” component_width=”600px” columns=”1″ position=”none” imgrepeat=”no-repeat” disable_bgshading=”off” floaterposition=”left” floaterdirection=”up” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]Saturday, the 10th of December, the city of Maastricht witnessed the second demonstration on our attempt to keep our beloved Haroon from being deported, along with his family and many Afghan citizens in similar situations. Like the first, the demonstration began at the Plein. The following sentence resonated the atmosphere ‘ Say it Loud, Say it clear, Refugees are welcome here!’, as the march took way through the heart of the city. Ending at the Markt, the demonstration was a warming sight to see; indeed, the supporters were loud as they rallied in solidarity with this unfair decision to deport Haroon, and those under similar circumstance. However, not all is lost as, of recent, ears have been leant to the cause.
On the 29th of November representatives of Amnesty, UNICEF, Stand up for Afghanistan, and UWC Maastricht accompanied Haroon to the Dutch Parliament (Tweede Kamer) to hand over the petition Houdt Haroon Hier (Keep Haroon Here) that up to that point was just shy of 18000 signatures.
Upon arrival Haroon was first interviewed by the Dutch national media outlet SBS6 for their programme Hart van Nederland. After this he handed over the petition to 2 members of Parliament, Jasper van Dijk of the SP (Socialist Party) and Bram van Ojik of Green Links (Green Left Party).
[aesop_content color=”#000000″ background=”#ffffff” component_width=”600px” columns=”1″ position=”none” imgrepeat=”no-repeat” disable_bgshading=”off” floaterposition=”left” floaterdirection=”up” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]The reason the visit to Parliament happened on that day was because it was the first time that MPs could ask questions regarding the Cabinet Policy of the newly installed Dutch government, specifically from the State Secretary for -among other portfolios- Refugees Mark Harbers of the government coalition party VVD (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy). MP Jasper van Dijk not only introduced a motion to the floor to put a stop to the deportation of Afghan refugees whom have officially denied a refugee status in Netherlands, but he also introduced Haroon’s petition to the floor and introduced Haroon to other members of parliament there, pouting him out on the public seats, from which we followed the proceedings.
Unfortunately, the motion to stop the deportations to Afghanistan was denied a week later, however, on the same day we went to Parliament, supported by the Maastricht city council, mayor Penn, also of the VVD, wrote an urgent letter to State Secretary Harbers appealing to his so-called discretionary authority to keep the Rezaie family in Maastricht. This is quite extraordinary for any mayor to do, and the letter showed great understanding of the situation in which not only Haroon and his family find themselves, but indeed of the impossible dilemma Afghan refugees find themselves in, inshore the mayor and Maastricht city council have been amazing throughout this process.
The position, as of now, is to await a response from mr. Harbers to that letter.
The Flying Dutchman team consists of UWC students aiming to reflect the news relevant to the people engaged with the UWC movement.