The exclusion of African youth in the Netherlands has become a burning issue. A recent Amnesty International report on ethnic profiling demonstrates that humiliating stop-and-search police practices apply predominantly to people of African and Northern African appearance. The Dutch National Ombudsman Alex Brenninkmeijer also warns of widespread discrimination and exclusion, and the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights reports that discrimination rates are highest against the Sub-Saharan and North African migrants. Discriminatory and exclusive practices hinder the development of African youth in Europe and create a gap between the excluded youth and those in power.
How can we move from a society that defines young people in terms of problems, dangers and risks towards a society characterized by participation? In the multicultural reality of today, how can we become a more inclusive society? How do we empower the African youth and other excluded groups to participate and to raise their voices? How can we ensure equal access to education, employment opportunities, and safety in the neighbourhoods? These are the main topics for the project Inclusion of African Youth in Europe.
The event kicks off today with a three-day training program in debate, multicultural understanding and advocacy in De Rode Hoed in Amsterdam, Around forty-five participants, many with African roots, will learn how to formulate their ideas, give public speeches, write blogs and effectively influence political discussions. The participants will then move on to The Hague for a debate competition on the 19th of November in business centre The Globe.
Lastly, on 20 November, universal Children’s Day, the participants will contribute to a debate on how Europe can support African youth and promote their inclusion in society. They will engage in dialogue with policymakers, professionals, and academics such as Roelof van Laar (development cooperation spokesman PvdA, Tweede Kamer), Stefanie Schuddebeurs (Ministry of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations) and Dr. Akinyinka Akinyoade (African Studies Centre). Jos van Beurden (trainer, researcher and writer) will chair the afternoon. The debate is open to the public and free to attend.
The activity was a preview for the larger November project Inclusion of African Youth in Europe. If you are interested in the discussion of racism, inclusion and exclusion, join us for the public debate on Wednesday the 20th of November in Leiden. Join and share our Facebook event. For more information and questions, contact Roeland Hemsteede.