Mpanzu Bamenga files complaint on ethnic profiling by Royal Netherlands Marechaussee

Today, the PILP has filed a complaint on behalf of Mpanzu Bamenga on ethnic profiling by the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (military police; responsible for border control).

Mpanzu Bamenga, a former council member for the city of Eindhoven and Policy Officer Diversity and Inclusivity at the University of Leiden, flew from Italy, where he gave a lecture on freedom, to Eindhoven Airport on April 30, 2018.

Arriving at the airport, Mpanzu Bamenga was singled out for an extra check. He noticed that only people of colour were selected and checked, in front of all the other passengers. People with a white skin colour were not stopped. Bamenga addressed the military police employee, who was checking him, to the fact that only people of colour were singled out and checked. The employee mentioned that this was not a coincidence, but prescribed by law. It is, according to the employee, the military police’s responsibility to prevent potential criminals and terrorists from entering the Netherlands. Mpanzu Bamenga then asked him: ‘and they are all supposed to be black?’. The employee did not deny this statement.

According to Mpanzu Bamenga, he was ethnically profiled, thus discriminated, by the military police. He was treated differently than the white passengers, because of his skin colour. He feels humiliated by this unfair treatment. Bamenga hopes that he, and other people of colour, will never have to endure such treatment again. The exclusion of people on grounds of their ethnicity, or race, is in violation of the fundamental values of freedom and an inclusive society, according to Bamenga.

The military police does not want to discriminate, as is mentioned in the ED. They state: ‘Profiling is an important tool for the Marechaussee. [..] The profiles are based on historical experiences and figures, information, intelligence and risk indicators. [..] The appearance (including ethnicity) can be relevant here, but always as part of other objective indicators or information.’

The organisations below do not consider race, skin colour, ethnicity or appearance to be objective indicators. The use of ethnicity or skin colour as indicator for profiling amounts to ethnic profiling, regardless of the fact that other objective indicators are also used. This type is a discriminatory practice.

To address and stop the issue of ethnic profiling by the military police, Mpanzu Bamenga has decided, in cooperation with the PILP, to file a complaint on the actions by the military police. The complaint could lead to more awareness on the issue amongst the military police and is important with regards to statistics on ethnic profiling.

The PILP and Mpanzu Bamenga are working on this issue with Amnesty International NederlandControle Alt Delete, RADAR and DeGoedeZaak.