COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
31 July - 25 August 2000
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9
OF THE CONVENTION
of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. The Committee considered
the thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports of the Netherlands, submitted
in one document (CERD/C/362/Add.4) at its 1413th and 1414th meetings
(CERD/C/SR.1413 and 1414), on 8 and 9 August 2000, and at its 1424th
meeting (CERD/C/SR.1424), on 16 August 2000, adopted the following concluding
2. The Committee welcomes
the very detailed updated report presented by the Government of the
Netherlands, containing information on the European part of the Kingdom
of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, which follows
the Committee's guidelines and contains relevant information about the
implementation of the provisions of the Convention. The Committee particularly
welcomes the opportunity to be able to continue a constructive and open
dialogue with the State party represented by a large delegation and
appreciates the detailed answers to questions raised and concerns expressed
during the consideration of the report, including valuable written answers
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee notes that
the Netherlands is one of the few countries to refer to minorities without
making a distinction between nationals and non-nationals; it welcomes
the plan to apply the Framework Convention for the Protection of National
Minorities of the Council of Europe without regard to nationality.
4. The Committee notes further
progress in the implementation of article 4 of the Convention and welcomes
the judicial proceedings that have led to the prohibition of a racist
political party. It notes also the creation of the National Discrimination
Centre within the prosecution service, the appointment of a national
police "discrimination officer", the existence of public prosecutors
and advocates general specialized in discrimination cases, and the Partnership
Training Project between the police, the public prosecution service
and civil society.
5. The Committee welcomes
with great satisfaction the establishment of the Reporting Centre for
Discrimination on the Internet which is aimed at combating racism on
Internet sites. The Committee considers this initiative a major step
forward in the fight against contemporary forms of racism and looks
forward to receiving updated information on the work of the Centre.
6. The Committee welcomes
the appointment of a Minister for Urban Policy and Integration of Ethnic
7. The Committee is also
satisfied that its previous request for information on the Frisian-speaking
community has been met and that the State party has given satisfactory
information on the situation of this community.
8. For the Netherlands Antilles,
the Committee welcomes the efforts undertaken - despite huge difficulties
- to address the problems of children with language backgrounds different
from those of the majority.
9. For Aruba and the Netherlands
Antilles, the Committee welcomes the plans to address immigration problems
cooperatively in the region.
10. The Committee acknowledges
the efforts by the government in Aruba to promote the national language,
Papiamento, in the educational system and cultural life.
C. Concerns and recommendations
11. While the Committee
acknowledges the increase in employment among members of minorities,
it is concerned that the unemployment rate among minority groups remains
four times higher than among the native Dutch population. The Committee
therefore hopes to receive information on the results of the "action
plan" set up by the Government to reduce that difference by 50 per cent
and on the evaluation of the new legal measures (Wet SAMEN).
12. The Committee is concerned
about insufficient protection against discrimination in the labour market;
it regrets the privatization and the planned dissolution of the Women
and Minorities Employment Bureau and wonders what institution is going
to fulfil the Bureau's task in the future.
13. While acknowledging
the efforts to recruit members of minorities into government service,
including the police and armed forces, the Committee is concerned about
the disproportionately high number of members of minorities leaving
the police forces. It recommends that the State party strengthen its
efforts to create a police force reflective of the total population.
14. The Committee expresses
concern at de facto school segregation in a number of localities and
recommends that the State party undertake further measures to reduce
de facto segregation and to promote a multicultural educational system.
15. The State party is invited
in its next report to provide further information on the following issues:
(a) the revision of the Criminal Code; (b) the living conditions of
the Roma minority and the specific measures taken to improve them; (c)
the further implementation of the Employment of Minorities (Promotion)
Act; (d) the participation of minorities in local elections; (e) the
changes brought by the draft new Aliens Act; and (f) statistical data
on complaints, indictments and judicial decisions relating to acts of
16. For the Netherlands
Antilles, the Committee is concerned that there have been social tensions
and problems in the educational system relating to immigration; it recommends
that the problems be addressed on a regional level, so as to avoid racial
17. While noting the information
from the government of Aruba that domestic servants may change employers
though not occupation, it recommends that the government ensure that
the status of domestic servants under immigration law is not exploited
18. The Committee recommends
that the State party's reports be made readily available to the public
from the time they are submitted and that the Committee's concluding
observations on them be similarly publicized.
19. The Committee recommends
that the State party's next periodic report, due on 5 January 2001,
be an updating report and that it address the points raised in the present.