[ 30. Aug 2007 ]

Amsterdam: Campaign Against Racist Police Raids and Deportations

Police raid in cafe Het Vervolg, 16 June 2007

On the 16th of June 2007 an African concert was raided in Amsterdam by a large police force which led to 111 arrest of migrants without papers. A campaign against racist police raids and deportations was then launched by migration an migrant groups.


The raids are a continuation of the intensified 'hunt for the undocumented' that has been given a legal basis in the 'prestatie contract' signed by Dutch police and government authorities in October 2006, which sets a quota for searching and 'controlling' thousands of undocumented migrants this year with the aim of detaining and deporting up to 12,000.

Here is the documentation of an open letter from Campaign Stop Police Raids. On the :: All Included website there are :: witness accounts and information about the campaign in english and pictures.

Defend the rights of undocumented migrants and refugees! Stop racist police raids and deportations!

In the early hours of the 16th of June 2007, a concert in Amsterdam Zuid-Oost was raided by 80 police, using horses and dogs. The police arrested and detained 111 migrants, mainly African, 70 of whom are either deported or facing

deportation in the near future. A few of them with valid resident permits were released after some days in detention centers. The raid was justified by police and the immigration service on grounds of searching for persons engaging in internet fraud. Even though 22 of those detained were ordered released by an Amsterdam judge who ruled the police action unlawful, State Secretary Nebahat Albayrak, representing the Immigration Service IND, successfully appealed to halt this decision pending her appeal. Although the Raad van State had not yet made its decision, deportations started in the early hours of Thursday morning, July 26th and almost all the women who had been arrested were deported from Uitzetcentrum Zestienhoven.

Furthermore, the police have used immigration powers to target the African migrant community for arrest within a criminal investigation, thereby conflating immigration and crime law enforce-ment and policy.

Besides this gross criminalisation of migrants, the conduct of the raid was overtly racist. Police checked the identities of all black people in the venue, and let the white people go without asking for their identity. In this way, the police have violated the non-discrimination principle laid down in several internationally binding human rights instruments (e.g. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as well as the EU Racial Equality Directive (2004/43/EC). This is also contrary to all the human rights Conventions which the Netherlands has signed. And in the case of Amsterdam, it is contrary to the promises that the Mayor made that this kind of raid would not happen.

In the course of the raid, the African migrants were further humiliated by being made to remove their belts and shoe laces and place these in a plastic bag. Following this, they were required to hold the plastic bag in front of them while being photographed. Those arrested were then dis-persed to different detention centers throughout the Netherlands.

There is deep concern that this raid will set a dangerous precedent where immigration law is used to look for criminals. Although immigration raids have a history in the Netherlands, with stop and search powers extended in 2002 and a series of police raids against Ukrainian and Bulgarian workers in late 2002, they appear to have gained a new legal basis in October 2006, with the introduction of a performance contract (prestatiecontract) signed by Dutch police and government authorities, which set a quota for searching and controlling thousands of undocumented migrants this year alone with the aim of detaining and deporting up to 12,000.

These immigration raids are starting to spread unrest in the migrant and refugee community with fear of arbitrary arrest operations leading to deportation. It is notable that police are targeting the few safe havens that are left for undocumented migrants in the Netherlands, apparently in an attempt to spread fear amongst the community and show them that they can regard no place as safe: earlier this year, police raided a church in Rotterdam and a refugee solidarity café in Utrecht.

This increasing discrimination of migrants be it by way of their detention, the denial of access to basic rights such as housing and health care or the deliberate spread of fear of arrest and deportation, severely violates their fundamental rights guaranteed in international and national law.

Therefore, we, the undersigned,

While re-iterating our support for the protection and defence of the rights of undocumented migrants and refugees, we

# strongly condemn the use of immigration powers to carry out raids on undocumented migrants reject the conflation of immigration and criminal investigations and law enforcement and underline that undocumented migrants are not criminals

# demand the immediate release of all those arrested in the raid in accordance with the Amsterdam first instance court ruling (behandeling June 26 & uitspraak July 3), as their arrest was based on a discriminatory and unlawful police act

# demand State Secretary Albayrak and the Dutch government to revoke the prestatie- contracten, as these constitute a dangerous development fostering racist police behaviour and violating our understanding of democratic principles that should guide law enforcement practice

Amsterdam, July 29 2007

Campaign Stop Police Raids

African Roots Movement
African Community in the Netherlands
All included
Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers (CFMW)
Euro-Mediterraan Centrum Migratie & Ontwikkeling (ENCEMO)
Foundation University Ghana
Youth Association Humanity-Germany
Internationale Socialisten
Jesus Christ Foundation (JCF)
Landelijk Migratie Overleg
Nigerian Foundation
Philippine Seamen’s Assistance Programme (PSAP)
St. De Fabel van de illegaal
Steungroep Vrouwen Zonder Verblijfsvergunning (SVZV)
Stichting LOS
TRUSTED Migrants
Transnational Institute (TNI)
XminY Solidariteitsfonds