Ethnic profiling complaints must be taken more seriously: Ombudsman
The authorities and institutions in the Netherlands must take reports and complaints of ethnic profiling more seriously, according to National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen. Failing to do so will result in a group of cynical citizens who cannot trust the government, he warned in an interview with newspaper AD.
The majority of people who experienced ethnic profiling already do not file a complaint about it because they feel it will lead to nothing, Van Zutphen said. He investigated 159 reports of Dutch people who were profiled based on their skin color, clothing or other traits of their ethnicity. Over 75 percent said they did not file a complaint, calling it pointless.
This is cause for concern, the National Ombudsman said. "The confidence that the government will correct mistakes has been lost," Van Zutphen said.
According to him, this problem is far broader than the few reports he investigated. "We also saw this in the benefits affair. There, many more people turned out to be victims - probably over 20,000 - than had been reported to me." The question is no longer if the Dutch government is guilty of ethnic profiling, Van Zutphen said. "We know that it occurs in the Netherlands."
It is therefore all the more important that the government and its institutions take complaints about ethnic profiling very seriously, the Ombudsman said. "If there is a different reaction than: 'why would you say that, we are not doing anything wrong', then we've already gone a long way."