Two thirds of local councils have no anti-discrimination strategy

Anti-discrimination text on Almere's town hall. Photo: Peter Hilz HH/ANP
Anti-discrimination text on Almere’s town hall. Photo: Peter Hilz HH/ANP

Well over half of the 344 Dutch local authority areas do not have any policy on racism and discrimination, national coordinator Rabin Baldewsingh has told news website

The percentage of councils with a policy has risen from 33% to just 35% over the past five years, which is ‘deeply sad’, Baldewsingh said. ‘Two thirds of councils are refusing to develop their own policy.’

Many councils do not feel the need to take action, he said. ‘One mayor told me that he received more complaints about integrity issues than discrimination. But that is hardly surprising if you don’t have any policy.’

Baldewsingh called on councils to develop policy as a matter of urgency. ‘Local government is close to the population and should not look away,’ he said. ‘We know what that led to. Racism and discrimination are a weeping sore that spreads, and impacts on social safety.’

The bigger the local authority, the more likely it is to have an anti-discrimination strategy, said.

Rabin Baldewsingh, appointed to the role in 2021 in a reaction to the Black Lives Matter campaign, said earlier police should be allowed to wear religious symbols, such as a headscarf, and that a Rotterdam bylaw allowing people to be stopped from moving to certain parts of the city should be scrapped because it is discriminatory.

Discrimination is a major issue facing the international community in the Netherlands, with two thirds of respondents to a new survey saying they had been targeted at least once.

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