Political institutions in the Netherlands have a distinctly national character. The Dutch parliament represents the Dutch people on Dutch territory. But how well defined are these boundaries nowadays? Among citizens, a form of spontaneous internationalization is taking place: people travel, do business, attend meetings, communicate across borders, and maintain interests and networks in various countries. That applies to citizens of developing countries to an equal extent. Due to migration among other things, citizens in developing countries are increasingly better acquainted with democratic ideals. They are now also demanding a voice in politics and administration, even though economic conditions are far from favorable for enduring democracy.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the role migrants are playing in development cooperation. Migrants apparently afford a positive contribution to both economic and social, as well as technological development. Therefore on various levels, both regional as well as international, an attempt is being made to formulate a coherent policy in order to exploit this potential as well as possible. In this light, a positive role could be inferred for migrants in the support and advance of democracy in developing countries.
The importance attached to democratization in the field of international cooperation has increased enormously in past years. Democratization and development are now seen as two sides of the same medal. The correlation of democratization, development and security forms the new challenge of our time. The report “Forces in Islamic Activism” by the WRR (Scientific Council for Governmental Policy) illustrates this. There is a strong relation between democratization on the one hand and the war against international terrorism on the other. With that in mind it is of eminent importance to involve migrants and migrant organizations from developing countries in democratization.
However, the participation of migrants from developing countries in Dutch politics remains distressingly insignificant. That is demonstrated by the number of migrants standing candidate for local elections, as well as the meager percentage of voters from this group. It is demonstrated likewise by the number of migrants belonging to a political party. It is therefore expedient that political parties make determined work of involving migrants within their organizations. Hence it would be advantageous for the government to invite political parties to develop initiatives together with migrant organizations with the goal of encouraging participation in Dutch politics.
The Third Chamber requests the Government:
- to investigate how migrants and migrant organizations in the Netherlands can support processes of democratization within their countries of origin.
- to advance the participation of migrants within the Dutch multi-party democracy by means of a stimulation fund.
In conjunction with the objectives of the Third Chamber, migrants could thus allow the voice of developing countries to be heard in Dutch politics. Consequently this policy would link with endogenous forces among migrants. In addition, these initiatives would be an important supplement to the government action program aimed at increasing immunity of young people to radicalization.