Freedom, democracy and protecting human rights were high on the Dutch government’s agenda when it rushed to back the US’s invasion in Iraq and sent soldiers to help America fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.
But protecting the human rights of prisoners who have been held for years in Guantanamo Bay prison without charge, trial or access to due process, doesn’t seem to matter.
The Dutch government is obstinately refusing to help America’s new president Barack Obama close down this disgraceful institution even if it means only looking after a handful of ill-treated immigrants. Many of the prisoners cannot be returned to their homeland because of fears about their safety and Obama is looking to the EU to help.
The government is prepared to brainstorm with other EU-countries on possible ways to facilitate the farming out of these unfortunates to other countries or returning them to their homeland. How generous.
What is the government afraid of? That it will be importing evil terrorists? That it doesn’t want to be sullied by any connection to Guantanamo? One would have thought that the country that proudly hosts the International Court of Justice would have been first in line to help out.
Looking at it pragmatically, helping out would also be great way to get on the right side of the new American president. It can still happen of course. Holland has caved in to American pressure many times before. Let’s hope that their knees are already shaking.
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