Labour senators oppose ethnic registration

Labour members of the senate have dismissed a suggestion by the home affairs minister that police and justice officials should register the ethnic background of criminals, saying this is out of the question, reports Thursday’s Volkskrant.

Home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst (Labour) said in the Parool newspaper earlier this week that a ‘neutral analysis’ of ethnic origins could help in the fight against discrimination. At the moment, police register place of birth and nationality.
Han Noten, who leads the Labour group in the upper house of parliament, told the Volkskrant that the registration of ethnic origins contravenes the constitution. ‘You will not get it past us,’ the paper quoted him as saying.
MPs more receptive
But Wednesday’s Parool reports that a majority of MPs do back the plan. ‘It could be useful to study how things are going with a particular group,’ said Christian Democrat MP Madeleine van Toorenburg.
And Labour MP Attje Kuiken said that if the minister could prove it would be useful, her party ‘would not be opposed’.
Under the headline ‘Antilleans and Moroccans spring out’, the Parool reports that around 37% of all those suspected of committing a crime come from an ethnic minority background. The figures date from 2002.
Registration of the ethnicity of criminals was scrapped in 1974, the paper says.
Should the ethnicity of criminals be registered? To take part in the poll, click here

And are we obsessed with defining the differences rather than fighting the causes of crime? Check out today’s column.

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