The Dutch government announces it won’t apologise for slavery
Following a debate on July 1, Prime Minister Mark Rutte has announced that the Dutch government won’t be apologising for the Netherlands’ history with slavery.
Debating institutional racism
The debate on institutional racism took place on Keti Koti, the national day to commemorate the abolition of slavery, after D66, ChristenUnie, and Groenlinks had called for the government to apologise for the role the Netherlands played in the history of slavery.
However, these parties did not win the majority in the cabinet. Prime Minister Rutte stated that his previous government had already expressed deep regret for slavery and that an official statement of regret would only serve to further polarise the country.
Future steps to fight discrimination
The debate also saw parties make several proposals to help tackle the issue of racism in the Netherlands in the future. GroenLinks proposed a ban on ethnic profiling by the police, and the Labour Party (PvdA) and Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) asked for a state commission to investigate institutional racism.
The Secretary of State, Raymond Knops, announced that from next year, the government will investigate the role and impact of algorithms in discrimination. To prevent citizens from falling victim to discrimination by government digital systems, there will be clearer guidelines and stricter measures for testing algorithms in advance.
Furthermore, as proposed by D66 and GroenLinks, 2023 will see a special commemoration of slavery, as it marks 150 years since it was officially abolished by the Netherlands.