Emile Roemer: MH17

25 July 2014

Emile Roemer: MH17

It is already more than a week since the appalling disaster of flight MH17 in Ukraine – a disaster which was not the result of natural causes, but which in all likelihood was caused by human agency. That makes it particularly painful and the feelings of powerlessness and rage particularly strong.

On Wednesday I was in Eindhoven for the arrival of the first forty victims. It was warm and calm. It was respectful: at last the victims and those who had been close to them were accorded the dignity which we have all missed for so long. I had an intense feeling of sympathy. That would be true, I think, of anyone when he or she considers that family members, friends or classmates could have been sitting in that plane.

Unfortunately for those close to the victims the catastrophe is far from over. Bodies are still being found and the investigation into the causes and into who is responsible has only just begun. People will be left for a long time in uncertainty as to whether their loved ones are in reality still safe and sound in the Netherlands. That’s heart-rending.

Today my colleague Harry van Bommel stated in the debate in Parliament that we are satisfied with what the government has done to date in order to bring the bodies home. It’s good that an independent enquiry can now be conducted.

Such an independent investigation is desperately needed. People close to the victims have the right to know how this can have happened and who was responsible. The enquiry will have to be conducted under difficult circumstances in a war zone, which means we must act with due care. It’s important not to wade in with both feet and further escalate the situation.

It’s important now to keep a cool head, manoeuvring with care so that our people can conduct an effective investigation, without becoming involved in the conflict, a conflict which should be brought to an end as quickly as possible.

I wish the people who take on this difficult task the very best.

Emile Roemer is leader of the SP

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