Over 200 officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed a letter calling on Minister Stef Blok to increase diversity in the department. According to them, the Ministry is lagging behind with the acceptance of people with a bicultural background. They want to discuss promoting diversity with the Minister, NOS reports.
Earlier this month Blok was discredited after statements he made about multicultural societies at a private meeting became public. He said that multicultural societies don’t exist, that it is genetically determined that people of different groups can not get along, and called Suriname a failed state. Blok later said he regretted the offense given with these statements, but did not actually say he regretted the statements.
The letter signed by the officials do not directly mention these statements, but sources told NOS that the letter is indeed a response to Blok’s remarks. The letter was only sent after Blok said on the Ministry’s intranet that he wanted to discuss his statements with his officials, and apologized for the remarks, according to the broadcaster.
On Monday actors, scientists, journalists, artists, program makers, writers, and poets raised concern about polarizing statement made by politicians. In an open letter in the Volkskrant, they specificaly mentioned Blok’s remarks, saying that the Minister’s statements feed racist undercurrents in Dutch society.