PRESS RELEASE – Netherlands: IHRC calls for the CERD recommendation to be implemented regarding “Black Pete”


IHRC submitted a report to the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee on the continuing Sinterklaas Festival in the Netherlands which features the racists figure “Black Pete”.

In 2014, following a case brought by equality activists, the mayor of Amsterdam was ordered by a judge to reconsider the annual Sinterklaas parade on the grounds that it is based on racial stereotypes. However the ruling was overturned several months later by the Council of State.

In 2015, the United Nations committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged the Netherlands to get rid of Black Pete because it has racist elements. The Netherlands responded by not heeding the recommendation and to this day the festival continues with Black Pete as a symbol of the colonial subjugation of Black Africans.

On 19 Dec 2016 Index on Censorship reported rising intimidation and threats against journalists questioning the racist aspects of the festival. IHRC’s submission urges the Human Rights Committee to put pressure on the Netherlands to implement the CERD recommendation immediately.

Notes to editors:

The full submission to the UN Human Rights Committee can be read here

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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Twitter @ihrc