Lawsuit against Royal Netherlands Marechaussee because of ethnic profiling

The Royal Marechaussee is summoned to appear in court for ethnic profiling in the context of border controls.

dinsdag 25 februari 2020

Royal Marechaussee summoned in court
The Royal Marechaussee is summoned to appear in court for ethnic profiling in the context of border controls. A coalition of civil society organisations and civilians has sued the Royal Marechaussee in order to end these discriminatory border control activities. We request the judge to draw a line.

Ethnic profiling by the Marechaussee
During border control operations, the Marechaussee select people on the basis of their appearance, colour of skin, or origin (ethnicity). Moreover, the Royal Marechaussee also applies risk profiles that incorporate ethnicity. For example: "men who walk fast, are well-dressed and who do not look Dutch". This is a form of discrimination that violates human rights and Dutch law and is therefore prohibited.

Consequences of ethnic profiling
Ethnic profiling has a negative impact. It is detrimental to the people it affects, contributes to the stigmatisation of ethnic minorities, undermines confidence in the government and ultimately proves to be ineffective in the fight against crime. 

Ethnic profiling repeatedly pointed out to the Dutch State
The collaborating organisations and civilians have made repeated efforts to draw the government's attention to the harmful effects of ethnic profiling. For years, international human rights monitors have also been reminding the Dutch state of its duty to protect citizens from discrimination and to prevent ethnic profiling. These efforts failed to produce any substantial improvements.

Court case to halt discrimination
Despite all criticism and recommendations, the government maintains its position that ethnicity, in combination with other characteristics, may be part of general risk profiles and may be used in selection decisions. Therewith, the government allows that the Royal Marechaussee discriminates citizens. The Parliament is aware of this situation, but fails to act. For this reason, we feel obliged to take the case to court.

Our request to the judge
The coalition has initiated civil proceedings against the State. We claim that the Royal Marechausse is not allowed to use ethnicity in selection decisions and the making of risk profiles. Legally speaking: drawing up and applying risk profiles, which include ethnicity for the purpose of border controls, is in violation with the principle of non-discrimination.  

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Report discrimination by the Marechaussee
Do you suspect that you have been subjected to a border control because of your origin or colour of skin, or have you been treated in a discriminatory manner by an employee of the Royal Marechaussee? Share your experiences with an anti-discrimination agency. Here, complaints officers are ready to assist you. They lend an ear and offer support for complaints proceedings.

Go to, or call the free phone number 0800-1237.

Who are we
The plaintiffs in this case are:

The proceedings are coordinated by the PILP-NJCM.

Further reading