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Racism in the Netherlands soars due to coronavirus

Here is where to report it

  • March 24, 2020 14:30
  • Author Aseniya Dimitrova
Medium rotterdam 985060 1920

On Saturday, 21 March, the world celebrated the International Day against Racism and Discrimination. However, instead of observing considerable improvements in attitudes towards persons of different origin, beliefs or orientation, things appear to be getting worse in 2020.

Discrimination against persons of Chinese origin increases

This we owe to a large extent to the current global coronavirus pandemic. At least this is what authorities in the Netherlands have signalled about.

The Municipality of Rotterdam, for instance, informed that persons of Chinese origin living on its territory witness more frequent negative experiences, related to their roots, ever since the Covid-19 outbreak began. The coronavirus, on top of the health crisis it has provoked, seems to be showing out the worst of human beings.

Improper jokes, prejudice, even social isolation – these are some of the examples that locals report to have experienced more frequently. Visits to the Chinatown area have also considerably decreased and with this – the economic activity and the income of the locals.

"People don't realize how hurtful these jokes are. It really impacts you. You feel left out. Especially in a country where all cultures are welcome, these kinds of comments are really not okay”, the Dutch municipality quotes a local citizen saying.

Awareness is the first step to stop discrimination, according to him. Here is why the municipality reminds that there is an active mechanism to report discrimination. The Foundation RADAR provides an online space to report cases of discrimination. If you live in the Netherlands and have been a victim or have observed discriminatory behaviour, make sure to signal this online.

Coronavirus in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has a total of 4204 positive cases (as of 22 March) and 43 deceased patients. The country has launched the NL-Alert which establishes basic rules of behaviour in order to limit the spread of the disease from one person to another. Namely, to stay at least 1.5 metres away from each other.

So far, the country has not officially imposed a lockdown. On the contrary, addressing the nation, Prime Minister Mark Rutte acknowledged that a large percentage of Dutch people will get infected by Covid-19. As a consequence, he implied, the country will resort to a controlled herd immunity strategy.



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