3.3 Current policy and policy reinforcements – Discriminatory grounds
A study is currently ongoing to determine the number of instances of genital surgery in children with Differences of Sex Development (DSD)/intersex children in the Netherlands. The results are expected at the end of December 2022. The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport has also provided a grant to draft a multidisciplinary DSD quality standard in the Netherlands, with patients being involved in addition to care providers. The quality standard will provide a definition of high-quality care for intersex people, covering both care for children and care for adults. The Knowledge Institute of the Federation of Medical Specialists (Kennisinstituut van de Federatie Medisch Specialisten) supports the study, which also receives input from patients’ associations.
As outlined in the previous chapter, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science have pooled resources in tackling pregnancy discrimination, for example by improving the provision of information and communication about the rights of employees, employers and other stakeholders when an employee is pregnant and by raising awareness of this issue. By doing so, they also specifically address ways in which organizations can start discussions on this topic.
The elimination of wage differentials is also based on recognizing, bringing up and reporting actual or suspected discrimination. The proposal for the EU Pay Transparency Directive (see the previous chapter) contains several provisions to help employees recognize and bring up wage discrimination. The proposal also includes several transparency measures – such as the right of employees to receive information – intended to aid employees in identifying any wage differentials, as well as several measures aimed at improving the legal protection of employees.
Discrimination against Muslims
The task of registering discrimination against Muslims, as well as discrimination against transgender persons and other groups of people, should be assigned to the various organizations responsible for receiving discrimination reports that do not yet include these categories in their records, such as the police and the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights. The lack of a precise distinction between the various types of reports renders an interpretation of statistics more difficult and this registration method does not provide municipal authorities with adequate instruments to develop targeted policies.
Policy efforts aimed at increasing the willingness of individual citizens to report discrimination, possibly including the aforementioned campaign for the public at large, will focus specifically on discrimination in the Muslim community as the level of reporting discrimination in this community is very low.
The NCDR also recognizes the desirability of an independent national survey of discrimination against Muslims in the Netherlands, which should be completed within two years. A comprehensive survey that identifies to what extent this specific form of discrimination is found, in what situations and in which domains – such as in the housing market, in healthcare, in public spaces, in financial services – is needed. The NCDR will discuss with various parties, including the State Commission against Discrimination and Racism (Staatscommissie Discriminatie en Racisme), whether this survey can be integrated into their working program.
The Face Covering Clothing Act will be evaluated in 2023. This evaluation will include not only the background to and the usefulness and necessity of the Act, but also its effects on the group of people most affected by the Act.
The NCDR has received word from various parties that municipal authorities are employing the Public Administration (Probity Screening) Act in cases involving the establishment of religious institutions, such as mosques or certain churches or schools with an Islamic signature. An initial study will have to be conducted into how often, for what reason and with what result municipal authorities invoke the Act when religious institutions, such as mosques and schools with an Islamic signature, are established.
People with a disability
The town hall session organized for people with a disability also covered the reporting process. Many participants indicated that they did not report discrimination because they were unaware that the contact points for reporting discrimination were open to receive complaints from people with a disability and because they considered the contact points to be inaccessible. Deaf people, for instance, find it hard to get in touch with a contact point, and many people with a mild intellectual disability find the reporting process too complicated.
More generally, the following obstacles were mentioned: poor visibility of the contact point, being in the dark about the importance of making a report, being in the dark about how a report is followed up, and people are unsure whether or not they have experienced discrimination.