COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. The Committee considered the tenth, eleventh and twelfth periodic reports
of the Netherlands (CERD/C/319/Add.2) at its 1252nd and 1253rd meetings,
held on 5 and 6 March 1998, and adopted, at its 1272nd meeting, held on
19 March 1998, the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes
the opportunity to continue its dialogue with the State party and the
detailed report submitted. It notes with appreciation that the report
covers the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and, additionally,
the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. The Committee particularly appreciates
the open and constructive dialogue with the representatives of the State
party and the additional information given orally on the wide range
of questions asked by members.
3. The considerable delay
in submitting the report is noted, and that it contains information
which has not been updated.
B. Positive aspects
4. The concepts of multicultural
society and inter-cultural education, of proportional participation
in employment in the army and the police, as well as the involvement
of the civil society in activities aiming at the elimination of racial
discrimination and intolerance are noted with great interest.
5. Different policies and
programmes initiated by the Government or by local authorities in the
fields of multicultural education and education of children of minorities,
employment, combating racist messages through the Internet and involving
persons from different minorities in health programmes and activities
are also noted with interest.
6. The efforts undertaken
and the innovative measures adopted by the State party to prevent and
combat racial discrimination are welcomed. In this regard, note is taken
of the Government's willingness to recognize existing problems and to
find appropriate solutions, both legislative and administrative.
7. The active participation
of organizations representing ethnic minorities, schools and employers
in the elaboration and the execution of governmental programmes to combat
racism is noted with appreciation. Such involvement has contributed
to achieving more successful implementation of reforms and programmes
to combat racial discrimination.
8. It is noted with interest
that the draft Matching Bill, expected to come into force in July 1998,
contains provisions aimed at narrowing the existing differences in the
state of health between members of ethnic and national minorities and
the rest of the population. It is noted that, according to the draft
legislation, illegal immigrants will be provided with essential health-care
C. Concerns and recommendations
9. Concern is expressed
over the dissemination of ideas of racial superiority and of intolerance
by various organizations, political parties and individuals. Although
new guidelines for the Public Prosecution Department entered into force
in 1993, requiring the pursuit of an active investigation policy in
discrimination cases and that prosecution be undertaken in all such
cases, reports from non-governmental organizations indicate that these
guidelines are not complied with consistently. The Committee recommends
that more attention be given to countering such activities and to investigating
and prosecuting discrimination cases more actively and effectively.
10. The increasing racial
segregation in society, mainly in the big towns, with so-called "white"
schools and neighbourhoods, is also noted with concern. Similar trends
are also noted in Aruba and in parts of the Netherlands Antilles. The
Committee draws the attention of the State party to the relevance of
its General Recommendation XIX to such trends.
11. Concern is also expressed
over practices relating to the entry and control of foreigners, both
in the continental territory and in Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles,
which could lead to racial discrimination in effect. The Committee requests
the State party to take the necessary measures to see that regulations
and practices in this field do not have such effects.
12. The disproportionately
low rate of participation of minorities in the labour market and their
increasing unemployment rates, whereas the rates for the rest of the
population are stable, are noted with concern, as well as reports of
both direct and indirect forms of discrimination in recruitment procedures.
The Committee recommends that further action be taken to ensure and
promote equal opportunity in economic and social life, in particular
as regards education and employment. Special attention should be given
to the information and conclusions found in two ILO reports, "The documentation
and evaluation of anti-discrimination training activities in the Netherlands"
(1997) and "Discrimination against migrant workers and ethnic minorities
in access to employment in the Netherlands" (1995).
13. Concern is also expressed
at the under-representation of ethnic minorities in most areas of education
and in particular that only an estimated 2 per cent of the total student
population in higher education comes from ethnic minorities. As for
Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles, concern is expressed that the process
of education may not give the necessary attention to the fact that the
majority of the population speaks Papiamento. The Committee requests
the State party to give more attention to providing students from ethnic
minorities at all levels of education, as appropriate, instruction in
their mother tongue.
14. The Committee also requests
more information about the implementation of the 1994 Law of Equal Treatment
and the activity of the Commission for Equal Treatment. The Committee
draws attention to proposals to extend the competence of this Commission
and to make it more effective in countering discrimination.
15. The Committee suggests
that the State party review its arrangements for the coordination by
one ministry of all actions in implementation of the Convention, including
16. It is further recommended
that the next report introduce a consistent nomenclature and classification
of ethnic and national minorities, and that the State party include
information regarding the Frisian minority and data on the total population
according to ethnic and national origin.
17. The Committee recommends
that the State party's next report, due on 9 January 1997, be an updating
report and that it address all the points raised in the present observations.