'They protected our soldiers, but they received no protection from Defence'

30 June 2021

'They protected our soldiers, but they received no protection from Defence'

For decades, thousands of people at Defense had to work unprotected with hazardous substances. Many have become seriously ill or have passed away. Defence announced compensation, but for many victims that compensation is no more than 'a tip'. They shared their story at an emotional meeting preceding the debate in the House of Representatives. SP Member of Parliament Jasper van Dijk was present and brought their stories to the House. Van Dijk: 'It is heartbreaking to hear stories about people who are not believed by Defence. Or when you hear how much suffering they go through, but hardly get any recognition for it. These people have been plunged into misery by Defence and deserve generous compensation.”

In total, 5000 hazardous substances were worked with, 500 of which were carcinogenic. Among other things, vehicles and other equipment were sanded and painted for the Americans who were stationed in the Netherlands. Hazardous substances such as the well-known chromium-6 were released and employees inhaled it. While American personnel was given the best protective suits, the Dutch were told to just buy a mask at the hardware store, otherwise, they could look for other work.

'For thousands of former Defence employees, it is unclear whether they are or are not entitled to compensation. Which diseases and conditions are included depends on the RIVM. The consequence is an even longer legal ordeal for people who are already tired. It is clear that nothing has been learned from the childcare benefits scandal.'

The SP wants a compensation fund from which all victims are generously compensated. ‘The Netherlands owes a debt of honour to these people. They protected our military by making sure the equipment was safe, but they received no protection from Defence. That is why a compensation fund is needed, whereby victims receive fair compensation without complicated procedures or legal wrangling. It should also be examined to what extent substances other than chromium-6 entitle to a claim settlement.'

Add new comment

You are here