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"Asylum barges" Dutch MP meets "Nauru" PM Howard

"Asylum barges" Dutch MP meets "Banning them Forever on Nauru" PM this week

"According to reporter Barrie Cassidy of ABC's Insiders yesterday, the visit from today till Thursday by Dutch PM Jan Pieter Balkenende may 'throw up some immigration issues', but both the Dutch PM and John Howard have tainted their government's reign with serious undermining of universal human rights," says WA Rights group Project SafeCom Inc.

"While Australia helped to formulate the wording of the International Declaration of Human Rights, including article 14, which stipulates the right to seek asylum in any country, and while the Dutch were central in the formation of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and while the Dutch have since its formation hosted the International Court of Justice, both countries are guilty of taking away any minimum standard of rights for the world's most vulnerable population group."

"Under the government of Jan Pieter Balkenende, the Dutch imprison outprocessed asylum seekers prior to deporting them from Holland, in two floating barges in the Merwe harbour, a quiet side branch of the harbour of Rotterdam.

"Meanwhile, two Iraqis, who according to UNHCR are genuine refugees, remain on Nauru, unable to go anywhere because ASIO claims they have an "adverse security assessment" - with a tiny detail to this assessment that disables the men:

ASIO refuses to share the details with UNHCR or with ANY country that expresses an interest in taking on the plight of the men, keeping them chained to the island until they die.

Project SafeCom's spokesman Jack H Smit, who grew up in the Netherlands before migrating to Australia, wrote about the socalled "Bajesboten" for the New Matilda online magazine - see http://www.safecom.org.au/bajesboten.htm

According to reports in two major Dutch newspapers, the Telegraaf and NRC Handelsblad, the majority of MP's in the Lower House of the Dutch National Parliament in The Hague - the Tweede Kamer - just a few weeks ago, demanded answers about fire hazards on board the barges, colloquially called "Bajesboten" using a Jiddish term for "prison" (bajes), they demanded explanations about the level of training of guards after one guard - who was also a journalist for another newspaper - had reported that with just one week of training the detention contractor Securicor allowed him to work on the barges, and the MP's wanted answers about multiple rapes by inmates, and drug deals on board the boats.

Last week in Parliament, the Justice Minister Donner and Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk defended that the barges were all safe, and dismissed a report by the guard/journalist in the weekly Vrij Nederland about the barges, declaring that the newspaper was wrong.

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