Van der Burg: Marechaussee should no longer allow ethnicity to play a role

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State Secretary Van der Burg in the Chamber for mobile checks
NOS News

State Secretary Van der Burg will implement the court ruling on discrimination in residence status checks “in full”. He said in the House of Representatives that he will instruct the Marechaussee to no longer use profiles in which ethnicity or race play a role during checks.

The court in The Hague ruled this morning that the Marechaussee may no longer select people on the basis of their skin color during MTV (Mobile Security Supervision) checks. According to the judges, the Marechaussee was guilty of discrimination during the checks.

Think MP Van Baarle called on Van der Burg to acknowledge that there was racism and that the checks were “as wrong as a door and should not have happened”.

It is not yet clear whether the cabinet will appeal

In his answer, the State Secretary underlined that the judge did not think the checks were wrong until today, but that the higher court thinks otherwise. He did not want to qualify the previous control policy, but emphasized that the cabinet is also against discrimination and racism. “We agree on that.”

Van der Burg does not yet know whether the cabinet will accept the court’s ruling or will appeal in cassation. He will discuss this further and thinks he will be able to tie the knot next week.

The State Secretary did emphasize that in general the cabinet and others should be able to use all legal remedies and that the three layers (court, court and Supreme Court) can help to set precedents. But he has “really no idea yet” whether he will appeal in this case.

Moral appeal

Various parties, including government party D66, called on him in the Chamber not to litigate further and therefore not to go to the Supreme Court. D66 Member of Parliament Belhaj spoke of a historic judgment and made a “moral appeal” to the State Secretary not to litigate further.

Van der Burg promised SP Member of Parliament Leijten that he will see whether there are other parts of the government besides the Marechaussee that use similar profiles.

‘Years of Struggle’

Mpanzu Bamenga, who was picked from the line at Eindhoven Airport by the Marechaussee in 2018 and co-initiated the case, says he is very happy with the verdict. “It took years of struggle, but the court is now finally pronouncing what we already knew: that I may be there as a human being and may not be judged by my skin color. It says nothing about whether someone is a criminal or not. It is a victory for myself, for my children and actually for everyone in the Netherlands.”

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