Dutch govt. should reinstate regular meetings with ethnic minorities: report

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The Dutch government should reinstate regular meetings with consultative bodies for ethnic minority groups, according to a study by Van de Bunt advisers on behalf of Minister Lodewijk Asscher of Social Affairs. Abolishing these meetings led to the fast decline of the dense network of representative members of ethnic communities and means that the government is less sufficient in reacting to rising social tensions, the report concludes, according to the Volkskrant.

The researchers call for the government to reinstate an updated version of the national consultation with minorities system, referred to as the LOM in Dutch abbreviations. Especially in the Turkish- and Moroccan-Dutch community the need for such a system is undeniable, the researchers say. A structural consultation system could be used to manage social tensions, to activate the people in the communities, to support emancipation policies and to keep an eye on what is going on in these communities. 

According to the newspaper, the report was delivered to the lower house of parliament late last month. But Asscher decided to leave what to do about it up to the next government.

The LOM system was discarded in 2011 by the Rutte I cabinet and was formally stopped in 2015. The main reason for dropping the system was that the "target group policy is no longer of this time", according to the newspaper. The government wanted to approach the population by individuals instead of groups - not counting descent, but future.

Walter Palm, integration officer from August 1982 until he retired at the start of this month, told the Volkskrant that discarding the LOM system was a kind of "work place disaster". According to him, the LOM system received international recognition. He now sees the negative effects of stopping these regular meetings. "Migrant groups have less influence on policy, through which they have less support and therefore less chance of succeeding. Without support every policy is doomed." he said to the newspaper.

Palm was at the meeting in 2004 after film maker Theo van Gogh was murdered by a radical Muslim and at the meeting in 2008 after PVV leader Geert Wilders released his anti-Islam film Fitna. After both incidents minority groups quickly released statements distancing themselves from violent retribution or provocative actions and calling for calm. "In times of social tensions, a kind of LOM structure is essential", he said. 

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