Dutch border force guilty of ethnic profiling at border checks, appeals court rules
The Koninklijke Marechaussee is guilty of ethnic profiling, the Court of Appeals in The Hague ruled on Tuesday. The policing service can not check people based on external characteristics such as their skin color. “This is a serious form of discrimination,” the appeals court ruled, NU.nl reports.
Several human rights organizations accused the Koninklijke Marechaussee - a policing force that works as part of the Dutch military and is responsible for border security - of ethnic profiling in 2021. In September that year, a lower court ruled that the Marechaussee was allowed to check travelers at the borders based on their skin color and other external characteristics.
The coalition against ethnic profiling appealed. According to the human rights organization Amnesty International, anti-discrimination organization RADAR, interest group RADAR, and others, the judge’s verdict was a license for discrimination. Ethnic profiling can never be justified, their lawyer said in his plea, according to NU.nl. “It is not about the intention, but about the impact.” The coalition is pleased with the appeals court’s ruling.
During the substantive treatment of this case in December, the State’s lawyer said he agreed that ethnic profiling is unacceptable. But he argued that the Marechaussee’s method of choosing who to check was not ethnic profiling at all because external characteristics are not the only reason the officers choose to check someone.
The Marechaussee stopped the practice of using external characteristics to determine who to check at the Dutch borders of its own accord in November.