Police ban on headscarf with uniform is discrimination: Human Rights council
The police discriminated against an administrative officer by forbidding her to wear a headscarf when interacting with the public, the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights ruled on Monday in a complaint filed by the Rotterdam officer, NOS reports.
The officer in question, Sarah Izat, was allowed to wear a headscarf while performing her administrative duties, but had to remove it when interacting with the public - such as when she took 3D declarations.
Police officers are currently forbidden to wear religious expressions such as a headscarf or crucifix with their uniform. The police leadership feels that this could harm the impartiality of the police. According to the police, the goal of wearing a uniform is to appear neutral.
The Human Rights institute ruled that, in Izat's case, the National Police made a "forbidden distinction on the basis of religion". The institute's ruling is not binding, but does carry weight politically, according to the broadcaster.
"The [police] organization wants to be ambitious in the area of diversity and to reflect society. That ambition is now being hampered", Izat said to NOS before the ruling.
Whether or not police officers should be allowed to wear a headscarf, has been a topic of discussion for some time. In May of this year, the Amsterdam police proposed allowing this in order to promote diversity in the corps and attract more police officers with an immigration background. Due to the controversy that arose around this proposal, National Police Chief Erik Akerboom decided to maintain the ban on wearing a headscarf or hijab with the police uniform.