Equality Bodies and Individual Victims: an Example of Good Practice from the Netherlands


The Equal Treatment Commission in the Netherlands, which was established in 1994, is a quasi-judicial body which can, among a number of other competences, issue opinions as to whether discrimination has taken place. Any individual who thinks they have been discriminated against can file a complaint with the Commission. Following a background sketch of the Commission’s history, composition and mandate, the procedure for dealing with a request from an individual is described, from the initial contact to the formal opinion of the Commission. The Commission was expressly set up to be easily accessible for victims of discrimination and to provide them with a cost-free, simple and quick way to settle discrimination complaints. This article assesses whether these aims are being achieved and whether the procedure is generally satisfactory for victims of discrimination and can be seen as an example of good practice for other countries. Attention will also be given to the imminent establishment of the Netherlands National Human Rights Institute because the present Commission will become part of this Institute.
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