Worldlog Week 13 – 2011

1 April 2011

Last week parliament once again discussed the Netherlands' contribution to carrying out the UN resolution in Libya. At the previous debate I indicated that the Party for the Animals has serious doubts about the need for Dutch participation in this mission.

When we had a letter from the cabinet two weeks ago concerning the first planned mission, it seemed that F16's, a minesweeper and a aerial refuelling plane were not the most appropriate means to enforce a weapons embargo. Then this week, the new letter clarifies what our contribution is meant to achieve: the resources will be tailored to the ongoing military mission: to enforce the No Fly Zone. Or to put it another way, it looks very much like the House has been taken for a ride in the form of the 'He who says A, must also say B' strategy. Salami tactics are pushing our country into a new war, without an overview, without proper information and with many of the participating parties having hidden agendas.

Many countries are severely violating human rights, but chocolate from the Ivory Coast seems to be less important than the oil in Libya. Everyone knows it, no one is saying it. When people are slaughtered in Grozny or Burma by their own leaders, the western world looks the other way. It plays the innocent. But in Libya, it's different. Suddenly there ain't no mountain high enough to stop us from protecting human rights.

In the Netherlands, a coalition of NGO's and political parties are calling for a national protest against nuclear energy. The Party for the Animals is one of the protest's initiating parties. The protest will take place on 16 April on the Dam in Amsterdam. The cabinet has decided to build new nuclear power plants and has therefore decided to take all the unnecessary risks and highly dangerous waste that goes along with it. The new power stations will deliver at least 40 years of dirty energy and frustrate efforts to work towards green power the entire time. We do not need nuclear energy to keep the Netherlands' running and there are more than sufficient clean alternatives.

The website 'Schoon genoeg van kernenergie', is running a petition calling for the cabinet to disallow any new nuclear power plants in the Netherlands. To date, more than 42,000 people have signed! It’s great that such a large part of the Netherlands is willing to speak out against this polluting form of energy. I hope they will all be there to protest against new nuclear power plants in the Netherlands!

This week I also asked parliamentary questions about the Dutch government’s role during a nuclear disaster as well as parliamentary questions about expanding the standards for radioactivity in foods. Last weekend, the European Union raised the standards for radioactivity in food. They refer to agreements made after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, which created a nuclear emergency situation whereby food received more radiation than law would allow. But currently in Europe there is no issue of a nuclear emergency, nor of an impending food shortage. I cannot understand why the European Union is stretching the standards for radioactivity in food during a nuclear disaster such as the one taking place in Japan, instead of accentuating them. We are askingthe government to reject the raised permitted levels and to instead take a more logical step: impose an import ban on food and animal feed from Japan.

See you next week, Marianne.