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Dutch News
Suriname wants Dutch compensation for slave trade 7/28/2013
The former Dutch colony of Suriname has joined Caribbean nations to press for compensation from the Netherlands, the UK and France for the lingering legacy of the Atlantic slave trade.
Caricom, a regional organisation for the Caribbean Community, has taken up the cause and is preparing for a long drawn-out battle with the countries'' governments.
It has engaged British law firm Leigh Day, which waged a successful fight for compensation for hundreds of Kenyans who were tortured by the British colonial government during the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s and 1960s, the Guardian newspaper reports.
Caricom will target the Netherlands on behalf of Suriname, the UK on behalf of the English-speaking areas of the Caribbean, and France on behalf of Haiti.
According to Caricom, the legacy of slavery includes widespread poverty and under-development.
Saint Vincent prime minister Ralph Consalves told the Guardian any settlement should include a formal apology.
Earlier this month, social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher stopped short of an apology when he expressed the government''s ''deep regret'' for the Dutch slave trade. He was speaking at a ceremony to mark 150 years since the Netherlands banned slavery in its former colonies.

Employers pay lion''s share of pension premium rise

The biggest share of the rise in the cost of saving for a pension was borne by employers last year, a survey by employers'' organisation AWVN shows. The percentage of the total pension premium paid by employers rose from 60% to 62%, the organisation says. Employees saw their contribution rise 9.19%, slightly higher than the 8.87% in 2011. The AWVN looked at 95 pension funds covering three-quarters of all workers.

''The Netherlands is a tax haven for firms which infringe human’

The Netherlands is a tax haven for companies which are involved in human rights violations, according to new research by multinational research centre SOMO. The organisation looked at the relationship between Dutch tax and investment policy aimed at attracting international businesses to the Netherlands, and its official policy on human rights. The SOMO report focused on eight large multinational mining companies which are based in the Netherlands, all of which are associated with serious human rights violations abroad. These range from ‘environmental pollution to militia violence, murder and displacement’, the organisation said.Head office Oil company Pluspetrol, for example, has its head office officially in the Netherlands.‘After decades of oil spills … the Peruvian government has declared an environmental state of emergency in the region in which Pluspetrol has operations, because of high levels of barium, lead, chrome and petroleum-related compounds,'' the report said. In terms of international human rights obligations, the Dutch government fails - and shows no political will - to effectively regulate international businesses incorporated in its jurisdiction, SOMO says, adding that ‘corporations found to violate human rights abroad should not enjoy Dutch fiscal and investment benefits.’The voluntary nature of corporate social responsiblity and the importance of corporate self-regulation is also an ''outdated and clearly insufficient''
approach, SOMO said

Let us speak Dutch, say expats

Expats living in The Hague are fed up with Dutch people immediately switching into English when they hear their accents.
Although the Dutch may think they are being courteous, expats are irritated at not being able to practise their Dutch in cafes and shops, according to The Hague language institute Direct Dutch.
The institute has launched an action with a button marked with the Dutch words for ''Speak Dutch! With me!''. The hope is this will encourage catering and shop workers not to switch to English.
Expats living in the Netherlands are more than happy to learn Dutch, according to Direct Dutch director Ruud Hisgen. ''Many also want to explore Dutch culture but are put off when they are constantly spoken to in English,'' he told the Volkskrant.

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