Hotline issues call to report rise in racism, discrimination tied to Zwarte Piet

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The Discrimination Hotline for the Amsterdam region is calling on people to report cases of discrimination, harassment and racism during the Sinterklaas season, NOS reports.

According to the Hotline, the “controversial figure of Zwarte Piet”, annually causes situations to get out of hand at school, work and other public places. The Hotline is consciously choosing to actively participate in the debate on what Zwarte Piet should look like.

The organization believes that Zwarte Piet should be adjusted so that he works for everyone. In a statement on their website the Hotline cites rulings by the and advice from the College for Human Rights, a United Nations committee and the Children’s Ombudsman to support their stance.

The College of Human rights advised the Netherlands to adapt Zwarte Piet to remove racial characteristics and associations with classic negative stereotypes about people with dark skin.

The told the Dutch government to portray Zwarte Piet differently so that he respects the human dignity and human rights of all the Netherlands’ residents.

The stated that Zwarte Piet goes against the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as he may contribute to bullying, discrimination and exclusion.

These statements make it clear that Zwarte Piet belongs to the past, according to the Hotline. The tradition needs to be updated into a new shape.

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