The public prosecution department is unable to cope with all the complaints it has received about discrimination, and some 75% of reports never even reach its offices, according to research by RTL News.
The department has pledged to look carefully at ‘all complaints about discrimination’ but most are set aside without being checked by department officials, the broadcaster’s researchers say.
RTL found that between 2005 and 2013, police received an average of 416 complaints about discrimination a year. But only an average of 123 were actually passed on to the prosecution department.
A spokeswoman for the department admitted the difficulties, saying the arrival of social media had made it easy to insult and threaten people.
‘We have to make choices,’ spokeswoman Gabrielle Hoppenbrouwers told RTL. The department’s guidelines are being amended to reflect the change, Hoppenbrouwers said.
The Dutch human rights commission says it considers it worrying that so many complaints go unanswered at a time when young people are becoming less likely to register such issues.
‘Youngsters tend to think… you can’t do anything about racism, particularly on social media like Facebook and Twitter,’ said Adriana van Dooijeweert. ‘That worries me.’
Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher told RTL that all cases of discrimination hurt people deeply but that not every case can be prosecuted. ‘We are doing a lot and we are going to look if there is any more we can do,’ Asscher said.
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