Dutch authorities receive over 3,000 coronavirus related discrimination reports

Covid-19: Sign reminding people to stay 1.5 meters apart on Javastraat in Amsterdam Oost, 15 May 2020
Covid-19: Sign reminding people to stay 1.5 meters apart on Javastraat in Amsterdam Oost, 15 May 2020NL TimesNL Times

Discrimination reporting points throughout the Netherlands so far received a total of over 3 thousand reports of discrimination linked to the coronavirus. The vast majority of reports involve Asian people, or people with an Asian appearance, being discriminated against, Discriminatie.nl, the national association for anti-discrimination agencies in the Netherlands, said in a report.

"Because the first Covid-19 infection was diagnosed in China, this is for some people reason to stigmatize and exclude Chinese people. Non-Chinese people with an East Asian appearance are also affected," Discriminatie.nl said. 

In many cases, the discrimination came in the form of hostile treatment - people shouting insults on the street. One person reported a police officer shouting "corona" at them and then driving away laughing. Another woman struggled for 30 minutes to be helped in a store where the employees just ignored her. There were also multiple reports of threats or physical violence, like a Chinese student being assaulted in her apartment building after she asked a group of students to stop singing a racist song.

"The impact of the incidents is major. Multiple reporters have indicated that they no longer feel safe on the street," Discriminatie.nl said.

Other reports came from people who feel discriminated against by the measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, or the enforcement of these measures. Discrimination reporting points received multiple reports of ethnic profiling - groups of people with darker skin being fined for not adhering to social distancing, while groups of white people are ignored. A woman from eastern Europe reported that her landlord told her to go back to her own country because "she posed a risk due to corona" and then barred access to her home. 

A number of people with mobility problems reported being denied access to supermarkets because, due to their wheelchair or crutches, they could not use the mandatory shopping trolley. There were also reports of children being denied access to supermarkets. A chronically ill person filed a discrimination report because their caregiver stopped coming. And a deaf person reported that the subtitles on television are much worse since the coronavirus crisis.