Worldlog Week 12 – 2011

25 March 2011

Last week was dominated by Dutch participation in the military mission in Libya. There was a debate in the Lower House about whether the Netherlands should provide military support to implement the UN resolution or facilitate a NATO mission. What the debate did not discuss was the option of “freedom and democracy for Libya or not”. That was unfortunate, as it would have made the decision easier.

We have serious reservations about the value of and need for Dutch participation in the mission. Anyone that says ‘yes’ to this mission may also be agreeing to a drawn-out war of which the consequences are incalculable. We believe the Netherlands should not participate. The actual objective of the mission remains too unclear. There is also too much uncertainty regarding the long-term consequences in terms of civil war, streams of refugees and the intentions of allies that all have their own geopolitical histories with Libya. These are all considerations that render hasty action or participation in an international mission unjustified.

We do believe that the weapons embargo against Libya should be strictly enforced and that we need transparency regarding the role Dutch companies play in supplying weapons to Libya or other potential hotspots. Furthermore, all efforts must be made to bring Gaddafi before the International Court for his crimes against his own people and a cease-fire must be implemented in Libya and enforced by international cooperation under a UN mandate. The dispatch of Dutch F-16s and a minesweeper has no place in this approach.

In other news this week, I put parliamentary questions to state secretary for agriculture Bleker about his willingness to draw up regulations to oblige the meat sector to place warnings on packaging and on advertising about the chance of infection with the MRSA bacteria. This warning should be similar to the health warning placed on tobacco products.

The chance of infection with the MRSA bacteria is considerable when handling raw (veal, chicken, pork turkey) meat. Infection with the MRSA bacteria brings the risk that people become immune to the effects of antibiotics and can no longer be cured of infections. The large-scale (preventative) use of antibiotics in the cattle-raising industry has thrown open the door for the MRSA bacteria, increasing the chance of infection among people. This is a very worrisome development for the public health of both people and animals. For years, the Party for the Animals has been urging a blanket ban on the preventative use of antibiotics in the cattle-raising industry. Soon after we had got the Lower House to debate the issue, the former minister for agriculture Verburg stated that the use of antibiotics should be halved within four years. Let’s hope that the blanket ban is not that far off!

Until next week,