Record number of discrimination reports in Netherlands last year
Last year the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights received a record number of discrimination reports. In total, the organization collected 3,581 reports and questions about discrimination in 2020.
Issues around racism were in the spotlight for 2020, a year in which the Black Lives Matter protests garnered significant attention as did rallies against celebrating the colonialist history of the Netherlands. Reports about racism increased in 2020 compared to the prior year. In total, the organization received 535 questions and alerts of racism. Requests for sentencing based on nationality doubled from 27 requests in 2019 to 60 requests in 2020.
President of the Human Rights College, Adriana van Dooijewert, said people are increasingly more aware of how to find the Human Rights College and report instances of discrimination. “It is important because that is the only way we can keep tabs on discrimination”, van Dooijewert said.
Half of the questions were about equal treatment on the job, for example when it came to employee selection or employment conditions. Questions were also frequently asked about the provision of goods and services, such as insurance, loans and medical services.
The most questions, reports and requests for judgments came from people with a disability. Overall, 715 reports and questions about discrimination against people with disabilities were filed last year. These reports included instances where a disabled person was forced to use a shopping cart or basked in store even though they were physically incapacitated. There were also problems raised by people who were told they had to wear a face mask even if a physical limitation made that impossible.
Since the start of the pandemic, 468 questions and reports were related specifically to the coronavirus, particularly about accessibility, and the provision of goods and services for people with a disability.
Dooijewert explained that all questions, reports and requests for sentencing provide input for the institute. “If we observe that discrimination on a certain ground requires more attention then we deal with it. Now the demand from the public is clear: do something about racism. We started working on that."
At the Human Rights College anyone can file a report or ask a question about discrimination.