Gesthuizen: ‘What can a Limburger do in Angola?’

27 October 2011

Gesthuizen: ‘What can a Limburger do in Angola?’

SP member of Parliament Sharon Gesthuizen describes herself as ‘extremely disappointed’ in the Christian Democrats and their Immigration and Asylum Minister Gerd Leers, who today utterly failed the 18-year old Mauro, a longstanding resident of Limburg, in the south of the Netherlands. ‘This is a young Dutchman who is the victim of a failing Dutch asylum policy,’ she said. Referring to a well-known local delicacy, Gesthuizen said that Mauro was ‘as Limburgish as vlaai. But he has been sacrificed by the Christian Democrats to their allies in the PVV,’ the anti-immigration party upon whose ‘toleration’ the Christian Democrat-Liberal minority coalition government relies for support.

28th June 2011: Mauro plays football with his team and Members of Parliament on Het Plein, the square in front of the parliament building, in a demonstration in support of his right to remain in the Netherlands. In the background is Christian Democrat MP Raymond Knops, who at the time supported Mauro’s request to stay. In the foreground Sharon Gesthuizen.

When Mauro was ten years old he was put by his mother on to an aeroplane to the Netherlands. Since his twelfth birthday he has lived with foster parents in Limburg. Following lengthy judicial procedures the courts decided that Mauro could stay in the Netherlands. The Immigration and Asylum Minister appealed against this decision, however. Meanwhile Mauro was pursuing a training course in Information Technology, and during his exams he heard that this appeal to a higher court had been granted. Mauro’s only hope was that Leers would back down and give him permission to remain in what is now in reality his home country. As Sharon Gesthuizen explains, the Minister has refused to do so. "Yesterday it became clear that Leers was not prepared to keep Mauro Manuel in the Netherlands, despite the earlier request to him from almost the whole of the Parliament, including MPs from the two ruling coalition parties, the centre-right Liberals of the VVD and the Christian Democrat CDA, to use the discretionary power enjoyed by an Asylum Minister to allow people to stay in the country in cases where expulsion would lead to distress."

“Today the ball was in the CDA’s court,” says Gesthuizen. “The VVD has been blowing this way and that like a leaf in the wind. Having a friendly game of football with a nice lad on Het Plein is all very well, but when it looks like having results, the VVD is nowhere to be found. The CDA carried on supporting Mauro, but after Leers was forced to seek audience once again with Wilders, he decided to change his mind and march in lock step. No more fine words, no more ambitions, no more human sympathy. All sacrificed on the altar of the coalition’s need for Wilders’ toleration.”

Gesthuizen has now placed her hopes in the CDA Congress which takes place this weekend. “The CDA parliamentary group is being held to ransom by Wilders. Today we’ve once more seen an extremely painful example of this. The last chance for Mauro depends on this congress prising itself out of the claws of Wilders’ party’s ‘toleration’. I hope that the party turns rapidly back to its own principles and that this happens in time for Mauro.”

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