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NRC Handelsblad - Netherlands | Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Paedophiles have right to form associations

The highest court in the Netherlands banned the paedophile association Martijn on Friday. But bans are the wrong way to take action against paedophiles, the liberal daily NRC Handelsblad criticises: "In a free society it must be possible for people with undesirable, shocking and even harmful outlooks to form associations - as long as the members' goals and activities remain within the framework of the law. ... As a matter of principle, the courts should not infringe on basic rights like the freedom of association. The balance between civil freedoms and criminal obligations is valuable, and the difference minimal. And there's a point to that. In a free society, the legality, and consequently also the visibility, of groups with undesirable ideas and activities can be useful. That puts a large responsibility on society, which can then demonstrate its powers of resistance."

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