Dutch Yezidi hopes to become MP after elections
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Dutch Yezidi Wahhab Hassoo never expected to be invited to join the New Social Contract, run by Pieter Omtzigt, who is leading the polls for the elections. But now he has a chance of becoming an MP in the future Dutch parliament.
The Dutch parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held on Nov. 22, 2023. The Dutch MP Omzigt split from the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) in 2021, and created a new party a few months ago, with new faces, to run for the country’s general elections.
“I am running for the Dutch parliament, representing New Social Contract (NSC), because of the inhuman experiences my family and I have been through as Yezidis, driven by the desire to promote peace, reconciliation, and diversity,” he told Kurdistan 24 on Friday. “Our list number is 19, and I am in position 40," he added.
“After applying, I never expected to be invited, but I persevered and made it to the last round, eventually landing a spot on the list with 44 others out of around 2,400 candidates. My goal is to use my knowledge and experiences to understand the impact of hatred and exclusion and contribute to a fairer Netherlands, based on acceptance and equality for everyone.”
Hassoo says if he is elected to the Dutch parliament, “my foremost commitment is to represent everyone in the Netherlands.”
“Drawing from my experiences as a Yazidi survivor, I will actively advocate for the rights of minorities, including addressing issues of our people in the Middle East. I intend to shed light on these crucial matters, work towards policy reforms promoting equality, and foster mutual understanding among diverse communities.”
Furthermore, he aspires to contribute to a more inclusive, accepting, and harmonious Dutch society, prioritizing peace, reconciliation, and diversity. “My dedication is to be a voice not only for my people but for everyone who is facing injustice, ensuring that principles of equality and acceptance prevail across the nation.”
Hasso has actively advocated for Yezidi victims of ISIS, while the focus in the Netherlands has predominantly centered on the repatriation of ISIS women and children. In October, he distanced himself from the Dutch Council for Refugees after revelations surfaced that a convicted ISIS woman was employed by the organization.
“The issue of the return of ISIS fighters poses a complex challenge for the Netherlands. In addressing this, the country should prioritize security measures to assess and manage potential risks posed by returning individuals,” he told Kurdistan 24.
“Simultaneously, a comprehensive approach involving legal processes, rehabilitation programs, and efforts to prevent radicalization should be implemented. Striking a balance between security concerns and addressing the underlying issues that lead to radicalization is essential for an effective and nuanced response.”
However, he said that victims of ISIS have been ignored by the Dutch government. “My aim is to give victims a voice, as it is also a responsibility aligned with democratic principles based on the rule of law. This is explicitly mentioned in our party program, also knowing that our party leader Omtzigt has been there for the victims of ISIS since August of 2014.”
Omtzigt has emphasized the importance of the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigating the genocide of the Yezidis. Additionally, he has authored multiple reports for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on resolutions addressing genocidal acts committed by ISIS. Furthermore, he has in the past advocated for the Dutch recognition of the ethnic group’s genocide, which formally recognized it in 2021.
“Recognizing and addressing the needs and concerns of victims is crucial for a truly comprehensive and just democratic framework,” Hassoo concluded.