The Netherlands Hub

Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands Redirect Aid Away from Ugandan Government Over Anti-Gay Law

Three countries have made moves restricting AID to Uganda after President Museveni's signing of the anti-gay bill, Al Jazeera reports:

Cnn_museveniThe Netherlands froze a $9.6m subsidy to Uganda's legal system, arguing that "if the judiciary is to enforce such laws, we do not wish to assist that process". Denmark and Norway said they would redirect around $8.5m each in government aid towards private sector initiatives, aid agencies and rights organisations.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said that the U.S. is "beginning an internal review of our relationship" in a statement released yesterday. The British Foreign Secretary has denounced the bill and said it would "continue to press the Government of Uganda to defend human rights for all."

Dutch Diplomat Attacked in Moscow; Assailants Write 'LGBT' in Lipstick on Mirror - PHOTO


Dutch diplomat Onno Elderenbosch was tied up and beaten by two men who entered his apartment in Moscow Tuesday night, and slightly injured, according to Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, the AP reports.

ElderenboschI've taken a screengrab of a LifeNews broadcast which reportedly shows that the attackers left a pink heart in lipstick with the Russian letters 'LGBT' under it. The photo was said to be taken in Elderenbosch's apartment, which is also shown to have been rifled through.

The AP adds:

The Dutch have been outspoken in their criticism of Russia's anti-gay policies. In April, the Amsterdam mayor expressed his opposition by declining to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to the Netherlands. And in August, Dutch gay groups held a protest ahead of a major concert by Russian state musicians and dancers...

...The top Dutch gay rights organization, COC, condemned the attack.

"It is terrible for the person involved and appears to be another expression of the swiftly deteriorating climate for LGBTs in Russia," COC chairperson Tanja Ineke said in a statement. She urged the king to go ahead with his visit to Russia and to raise the issue of human and gay rights with Putin.


Thousands Protest Russia's Anti-Gay Laws In Amsterdam: VIDEO


Over 2,000 protesters took to the streets of Amsterdam on Sunday to show their support for gay rights and to rebuke Russia’s anti-gay laws and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The AP reports:

VanderlaanAmsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan told the crowd he hoped the protest would send the message to Moscow that "love is not propaganda."

Afterward in an interview with The Associated Press, he said the city "is proud of its homosexual community and they have the right to support from government" — not persecution. Amsterdam has a long history of tolerance of gay rights, including performing the first gay marriages in 2001 [...]

Sunday's protest, titled "To Russia With Love," was organized in response to a concert featuring a Russian state orchestra and choir that was held on the far side of the square later in the evening. The two countries have named 2013 as a special year to celebrate historical ties.

But Van der Laan declined to meet with Putin when he visited the Netherlands in March, sending lesbian councilwoman Carolien Gehrels in his place and flying a rainbow flag over city hall.

Organizer Frank van Dalen of Pride United said he was thrilled with the turnout for Sunday's demonstration, which was put together in a matter of days — word spread quickly on social media.

"It shows that people are incredibly angry" about Russian treatment of gays, he said. "Not only gays and lesbians, but heterosexuals have come out to support them, and transgender and bisexual — this is something that concerns everyone."

Back in April, over 3,000 people in Amsterdam signed up for a protest of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the Dutch capital because of his support for the then-proposed anti-gay law which was ultimately passed and went into effect in June. Rainbow flags were flown all across the city, some at half-mast and some strategically placed to guarantee that President Putin would see them during his stay in Amsterdam.

Sunday's protests in Museum Square come on the heels of last week's protests in Copenghagen that saw over 10,000 people take to the streets to condemn Putin and his country's anti-gay laws. Last week also saw gay rights supporters coming up with other inventive ways to protest the criminalization of gay rights in Russia.

Watch as Dutch protesters sing along to a rendition of "To Russia With Love" AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Thousands Protest Russia's Anti-Gay Laws In Amsterdam: VIDEO" »

European Scientist To Cook And Eat His Own Lab-Grown Hamburger

Dr. Mark Post

Dr. Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands has grown his own hamburger. Not from a cow but from bovine stem cells in his laboratory, and will be cooking and eating his own project. This endeavor for lab-grown meat took years of research and cost €250,000 to make, but could change the meat industry if proven viable. The factory-farmed meat industry is inefficient, cattle and pork in particular, and requires massive amounts of resources for the amount of meat harvested. The process also results in substantial negative environmental impacts as well as almost universal inhumane treatment of livestock.

Lab-grown meat, if proven tasty enough to take off in the consumer marketplace, could mitigate these negative impacts, perhaps most notably by reducing the amounts of CO2 and methane that are released into the atmosphere from factory farms. Additionally, the cost of meat could be lowered and more could be made to feed the earth's ever-growing human population, which is expected to hit 9.5 billion by 2060.

Safety for human consumption is also a concern that a spokesperson for the UK's Food Standards Agency, which is analogous to the FDA or USDA, addressed by stating,

Any novel food, or food produced using a novel production process, must undergo a stringent and independent safety assessment before it is placed on the market. Anyone seeking approval of an in vitro meat product would have to provide a dossier of evidence to show that the product is safe, nutritionally equivalent to existing meat products, and will not mislead the consumer. This would be evaluated under the EU regulation for novel foods, prior to a decision on authorisation. There have been no such applications to date.

The taste-test is scheduled to occur this Monday, shortly after lunchtime.

Meet The Four Dutch Citizens Arrested Under Russia's New Anti-Gay Law

Kris-van-der-veenNews spread quickly shortly after four Dutch citizens were the first foreign citizens to be arrested under Russia's anti-gay "propaganda" ban recently signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. Now, the Washington Blade is releasing some more details surrounding the event in question, as well as the individuals themselves. 

It was previously reported that the four were arrested at a summer camp in the city of Murmansk on Sunday. Said arrests took place during a human rights seminar, which included a local LGBT rights organization among others. The four dutch citizens were guests of the seminar and members of the Dutch advocacy group "LGBT Groningen". One of them, Kris van der Veen, president of the organization, was there to give a lecture, as was confirmed recently by the Blade.

The group also explained that the four members were also there to film a documentary on gay life in Russia. Local media reported them interviewing a 17-year-old gay teen before being taken into custody by local authorities. According to reports, the four were scheduled to appear in a Murmansk court on Monday, and were released after being fined 3,000 rubles, which equates to approximately $93 USD. Van der Veen wrote on his Facebook profile, shortly thereafter: "We are still in Murmansk...It is about the documentary, gay propaganda. It is good, but it’s still very vague what’s next." It is not yet known exactly when the four expect to return to the Netherlands. 

While van der Veen and company are the first foreign citizens to be arrested under the new anti-gay propaganda law, they are not the first to be arrested. 40 LGBT activists were previously arrested in St. Petersburg after a demonstration on June 29, and 30 were arrested on May 24 after protesters tried to stage a pride celebration outside of Moscow city hall. LGBT advocates from St. Petersburg are scheduled to go on trial this Thursday. 

Activists such as Harvey Fierstein have already referred to such acts as this as a "declaration of war on homosexuals". Many are subsequently calling for a boycott of the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi. While the U.S. State Department and European Union have expressed their disapproval of all Russia's recent anti-gay legislation, it is still unclear whether any action will be taken. 

Dutch Lesbian Couple Hides As Foster Son's Turkish Parents Demand Return

TCustody2There may be an international incident brewing in The Hague, Netherlands, where a lesbian couple raising a Turkish foster son have gone into hiding to avoid returning the son to the biological parents from whose care he was ordered removed (pictured).

According to NPR, the 9 year-old boy, Yunus, was a baby living in The Netherlands with his Turkey-born parents when child services removed him from their care. Two other children were also meant to be removed but the parents took them back to Turkey before child services could intervene.

Now, as Turkish politicians rally against the concept of same-sex parents raising Muslim children, Yunus' parents are calling for his return, a call that comes just as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan prepares for an official trip to The Netherlands.

While hardliners back home want Erdogan to fight for Yunus' return, his government doesn't really want to get involved, particularly because Yunus' placement with the couple was an official child service's decision. From NPR:

Lodewijk Asscher, the Dutch vice prime minister, told reporters Friday that the issue is an internal Dutch matter and that political interference from Turkey is "inappropriate."

Child social services in The Hague said there was no specific threat against Yunus or his foster parents, but he has been kept home from school as a precaution since the interview aired.

The Hague Youth Services Agency has decided it is better for Yunus and his foster parents "to stay at another address for a time, partly in connection with the visit of the prime minister next week," spokeswoman Tanja van Dijk said in a telephone interview with national broadcaster NOS. "For safety, and also because of the quiet that both Yunus and his foster parents of course now need."

Asscher also praised the lesbian couple for raising a child that was "in danger" in his biological parents' care. "People who are willing to take care of somebody else's child deserve our admiration," he said.


Towleroad - Blogged