Netherlands to appoint National Coordinator against racism, discrimination
Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs wants to appoint a National Coordinator against Discrimination and Racism, as well as an advisory State committee to conduct long-term research into the mechanisms behind discrimination and racism, she said in a letter that will go to parliament on Thursday. In the coming period, she will investigate exactly what form this new body will take, the Volkskrant reports.
The establishment of this National Coordinator and State Committee follows the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in the United States on May 25. In the parliamentary debates that followed, various motions were filed for more to be done in the fight against institutional racism. This is in response to that.
With the National Coordinator for Discrimination and Racism, Ollongren is executing motions filed by the D66 and DENK. It is very important to first find the right way to "arrive at an overarching approach to this social problem," she said in her letter to parliament. Because discrimination and racism occur in many areas of society, including the labor market, healthcare, the housing market, education, sports, and in the public space, the subject affects several Ministries. Ollongren is now looking for the best way to set up this Coordinator, by asking social "key parties" for advice, she said.
When this exploration is completed in the spring of next year, the next topic of discussion will be where National Coordinator will be located and what their staff will look like.
The establishment of a State Committee on Discrimination and Racism is in response to a motion filed by PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher and CDA leader Pieter Heerma. A State Committee is an ad hoc advisory body that issues an important report on one subject. According to Ollongren, this committee will conduct research on discrimination and racism on a long-term basis and study the effects of everything that has already been done in this area. It must also clarify why anti-discriminatory provisions in legislation are apparently not sufficiently effective.
The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, will debate discrimination on Thursday in a general consultation with Ollongren.