Dutch Prosecutor Makes Racist Statement in Court

29 October 2003

According to the Dutch daily newspaper de Gelderlander of May 15, 2003, Mr M. van Elsdin-gen, the public prosecutor of the Court of Arnhem in central eastern Netherlands, made anti-Romani statements during court proceedings on May 14, 2003. Mr van Elsdingen reportedly stated in court:

"In the Romani community, the Gypsies, criminality is considered to be normal. Few amongst them are not criminal. All others are. When we speak about the misbehaviour of football supporters and Moroccan people, we speak about exceptions because most football supporters and people from Morocco are not criminals. But the case of Roma is different. The Roma community is involved in crime; they commit punishable acts. Burglary is fully acceptable. They withdraw from our culture, and that is not acceptable."

On May 19, 2003, after having filed a complaint to the Ministry of Justice regarding Mr van Elsdingen's statement, Ms Josephine Verspaget, the former Chair of the Council of Europe Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies, informed the ERRC that Mr van Elsdingen had issued a public apology. Additional information on the situation of Roma in the Netherlands is available on the ERRC's Internet website at: www.errc.org.

(de Gelderlander, ERRC)


Challenge discrimination, promote equality


Receive our public announcements Receive our Roma Rights Journal


The latest Roma Rights news and content online

join us

Find out how you can join or support our activities