MPs demand quicker action against racism, discrimination
The Cabinet must tackle discrimination and racism more quickly, members of parliament agreed this week. A large part of the Tweede Kamer believes that it is taking too long for the Cabinet to put concrete measures in place in areas where situations often deteriorate, such as in the labor market, education, the housing sector, and the police force. The debate was prompted by, among other things, a Dutch-Turkish family in Giethoorn that moved away in February after prolonged harassment and intimidation, and also because the police did not address the situation adequately.
D66, PvdA, GroenLinks, DENK, SP, PvdD, and Volt, as well as several other parties, expressed dissatisfaction with the current national policy. DENK MP Stephan van Baarle entered the plenary room with his hands full, carrying three boxes of investigations into racism and discrimination. According to him, the data has been there for a long time, but the government still pays too little attention to the approach. There is no lack of good intentions, but the plans are empty shells and no money has been set aside for the fight against it, says Van Baarle.
Minister of Internal Affairs Hanke Bruins Slot contradicted this. Each year, an additional 12 million euros is made available to tackle discrimination. Municipalities also receive money for this, but the PvdA pointed out that this money is not specifically earmarked, allowing cities to put the money into other projects. The parties also want the National Coordinator against Discrimination and Racism to be given more powers and scope to make and implement good plans.
Coalition parties CDA and VVD also wanted to know when and which improvements will be implemented. "The Netherlands is one of the most tolerant countries in the world, yet discrimination and racism are part of our society and that is unacceptable," said Hatte van der Woude of the VVD.
JA21 party chairman Joost Eerdmans stated that the Netherlands is not a racist country, but that there are racists among the population "and that is always wrong.” He thinks the discussion has been pushed aside. The fact that thousands of reports to the police lead to only a few dozen convictions is only because people thought they were being discriminated against, but that turned out not to be the case, according to the politician.
More discrimination investigators will start around the summer, Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz reported. They will help and support the police units in reporting discrimination. They will also investigate how the working method operates and see how it can be improved.
Reporting by ANP