Amnesty Int. critical of Netherlands in anti-populism report

rutte and wilders
Mark Rutte and Geert Wilders (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Russavia). (Mark Rutte and Geert Wilders (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Russavia))

In its annual report Amnesty International is sounding the alarm about the rise of populism across the world and the implications it has for human rights. According to the human rights organization, the situation deteriorated significantly over 2016, and that can be attributed political forces rebelling against the established order. Also in the Netherlands populism is a rising problem, the organization said in a brief press conference about the report, NOS reports.

According to Amnesty International, populism in the Netherlands is going too far. "For example, when Geert Wilders talks about Moroccan scum. But also when the Dutch prime minister writes an open letter calling on migrants to act normal or go away."

All around the world Amnesty noticed an increasing culture of "us and them" last year. "Stories about blame, hatred and fear globally haven't been on this level since 1930", the organization said in its report, referring to the decade in which Adolf Hitler came to power. The organization points to Donald Trump in the United States, Viktor Orban in Hungary, Narenda Modi in India, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. "More and more politicians establish themselves as anti-establishment. They apply a policy of demonization, designating scapegoats and putting away whole groups in order to win elections."

Trump's campaign is a good example of this, Amnesty said. "His poisoned election campaign was the example of a global trend that leads to anger and divisiveness." According to the organization, the boundaries of what is normal shifted over the past year. "Politicians shamelessly use all sorts of hateful rhetoric and in this way justify misogyny, homophobia and racism." Refugees were the first victims of this, but other groups will follow in the coming year, Amnesty warns. 

Other human rights issues Amnesty raised about the Netherlands specifically includes ethnic profiling by the police, temporarily keeping asylum seekers locked up in asylum centers and the introduction of a partial burka ban. "Ethnic profiling remains a major problem in the Dutch police", the report reads. "The authorities recognize the serious effects of this profiling, but do not come with a plan to fix it."