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UN experts concerned about racial bias of Dutch authorities

PICTURED: E Tendayi Achiume (Image: UN Photo/Manuel Elias)

EXPERTS APPOINTED by the United Nations have called on the Dutch authorities to act to put a stop to racial bias in its child welfare system after seven children of African descent were forcibly taken away from their parents.

The police took the children into care in May and they have not yet been reunited with their family.

Among the seven children removed from their parents is one breastfeeding incident, the UN experts have reported.

E Tendayi Achiume, special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and Michal Balcerzak, chairperson of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, said: “This family separation has caused immense trauma and psychological damage and we are deeply troubled about the impact on the children’s physical and mental wellbeing.”

The UN’s experts have said that the Dutch authorities took the children into care without “duly considering their best interests, preserving the family structure or first providing instructions on how to combat problems in the home”.

They also reported that research has revealed negative stereotypes of parents of African descent have led to an increase in reports of maltreatment and greater involvement of the state authorities.

The experts have requested the Dutch government work to end racial bias in its child welfare system.

“We have raised our concerns with the Government of the Netherlands, and called on them to investigate this case, reunite the family and guarantee equal treatment before the law,” the special rapporteurs said.

The Dutch government has denied the accusations of racial discrimination.

Special rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Humans Rights Council. They visit countries to observe and analyse human rights issues.

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