Independent report forces Dutch foreign ministry to apologize

The Dutch Foreign Ministry was forced to apologize after a case of institutional racism broke out in the country. People have been insulted and called “monkeys” for their skin color.

An independent report commissioned in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, exposed a system of racism fostered within the ministry, to sideline people of color or belittle those already employed.

The publication pointed out that while employees were “usually not abused in person”, they often experienced “verbal abuse” over hearing others talk down people because of their skin color, religion or background.

The report says the findings “raised the question of whether there is institutional racism. We conclude that it is”.

Departmental employees of color, according to the report, often felt excluded and ignored by their white colleagues. Several employees claimed that people were called “repeatedly + monkeys +, + bokitos +”, the name of a gorilla who escaped from a Dutch zoo in 2007, and that they were injured.

Others were called “niggers” or “Zwarte Piet,” a controversial “blackface” folk figure, the report adds.

“African countries were described by an employee as + country of monkeys +”, continues the document written on the basis of interviews carried out with 33 people and focus groups comprising a total of 47 people.

Among these were “bicultural” ministry employees working in the Netherlands and abroad, embassy staff and some white employees, it said.

Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said the report was “painful and shocking”.

“What a number of colleagues in the department and missions around the world have experienced is unacceptable and it touches me deeply,” he tweeted.

The Netherlands has long promoted its image as a liberal and multicultural society, but the country has come to terms with its history of colonial power and slavery in recent years.

Media reported that the government planned to issue a formal apology for slavery later this month, a possible act of repentance that has been heavily criticized, with groups representing former colonies saying they were not consulted.

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