The number of reports of discrimination in the northern provinces of Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland went down in 2017.
According to Dagblad van het Noorden, there were 443 cases filed at the regional Discrimination Hotline (Discriminatie Meldpunt) in 2017 combined; in 2016, there were 462 cases filed. The number of reports filed to the police is also down: there were 378 in 2016 and 298 reports in 2017.
Sanne Smid, manager at the Discrimination Hotline in Groningen, says that this is the first time in years that the numbers have gone down. “We’ve had a few peaks, for example when Geert Wilders was leading the chant about wanting fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. In 2016 we received reports from the emergency shelter for refugees, and every year around Sinterklaas, we get reports connected to the Zwarte Piet debate.”
However, Smid emphasises that the reports that are ultimately filed are almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg. On average, only about 25 percent of people who feel they have been discriminated against contact any authorities about it. Among the filed cases, the most common reason that people are discriminated against is their race or country of origin – that accounted for 40 percent of filed reports last year.
Disabled people and those with a chronic illness have been filing more reports in recent years: there were 35 reports in 2015, 44 in 2016 and 60 in 2017 on those grounds. Smid attributes that increase to the Netherlands ratifying the UN Persons with Disabilities Treaty in 2016. The treaty means that stores, restaurants and public transportation have to be accessible for everyone.
Most discriminatory incidents take place on the job market. In 2017, 127 of the 443 total reports pertained to people either finding a job or keeping a job. Employers occasionally discriminate against job candidates and employees based on national origins, gender and age.
Professional discrimination against pregnant women has also been highlighted in recent years. Smid says that women are regularly told that their contracts will not be extended when they inform their employer that they are expecting a child.
Photo source: Discriminatie Meldpunt