Mpanzu Bamenga wins human rights award

Each year, the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights recognizes someone on the Internationale Human Rights Day. A pioneer who commits in an innovative way to human rights.

This year, the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights shines a light on pioneers that are active in the battles against racism. The winner is someone who has made a positive impact in the battles against racism. As a part of the awards, the Netherlands Insititute for Human Rights offers the winner a network and platform to fight racism together.

The prize is awarded on 10 December 2021. This year, the awards went to Mpanzu Bamenga. Get to know Mpanzu and his work.

 

Mpanzu, please introduce yourself

“My name is Mpanzu Bamenga, a protagonist of fundamental values and human rights. I work as coordinator and teammanager of the ‘Regiegroep Ongedocumenteerden Amsterdam.’ We work together with Governmental partners, municipal and social partners with a sustainable perspective (return to the country of origin, onward migration or residence in the Netherlands) for undocumented migrants. We do this by directing, supervising, organizing cooperation, conducting research and monitoring the progress and results of policy implementation. In the period where we work to get a sustainable perspective for undocumented care, participation and counseling. Furthermore, I am Councilor in Eindhoven, Coordinator and Co-founder of Inclusion Leaders Network (Incleaders), and am Board Member at the SDG Young Leaders Network. “

“Everyone deserves a fair chance to build a bright future.”

About six months ago, you sued the State together with colleagues to make ethnic profiling illegal. What is the current status of this case and what are the next steps?

“In April 2018, I was detained at Eindhoven Airport. In June 2021, I filled a complaint. In November 2018 was the hearing. In January 2019 my complaint was declared well-founded. In February 2020 the Court case started against the State. In June 2021 was the hearing. In September 2021 was the judgment. This month we will appeal this month. I expect the hearing within 9 months and hope to have a judgment before the end of 2022. Last November, the Marechaussee indicated that they want to stop with ethnic profiling. This is a good step forward. I applaud it and hope that other implementing organizations will follow. However, this will not end ethnic profiling. The judge still legitimizes it, the military police indicate that they like it, even if they want to stop, that they have the space to be able to do it, and there is still no general ban. All of these are reasons enough to continue the fight against ethnic profiling. At the end of November I appealed to Members of Parliament to put an end to ethnic profiling during the round table discussion on ethnic profiling and in 2022 we want to appeal to the Court of Appeal in The Hague to impose a general ban and in this way put an end to ethnic profiling by the Chamber.”

 

What does an inclusive Netherlands look like for you?

“The Netherlands that makes full use of the diversity of society and potential of all citizens. The Netherlands where everyone can be themselves, participate and decide. The Netherlands where everyone is treated fairly and equally, regardless of color, sex, sexual orientation, and religion. Everyone deserves a fair chance to build a bright future.“