Published On: Tue, Jul 24th, 2018

200 civil servants sign letter with plea to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Stef-BlokTHE HAGUE - The letter in which officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ask Minister Blok for more diversity has been signed by at least 200 employees. In the eyes of the letter writers, the civil service in the department is not diverse enough.

They argue that the ministry is lagging behind with the acceptance of people with a bicultural background. They ask support from the highest management to promote the ambition to improve this and want to discuss this with the minister.

Minister Blok came into disrepute earlier this month after having said during a private meeting that a peaceful multicultural society exists nowhere in the world. He also said that it is genetically determined that people like to operate in a group of equals and that we therefore find it difficult to deal with strangers. He called Suriname a 'failed state'.

A direct link with these declarations by Blok is not made in the letter, but sources inform that this is indeed a response from the officials to that statement.

The letter was not sent until Blok had already indicated on the intranet that he would like to discuss this with his officials after the summer. He also apologized to his officials about his remarks.

It is remarkable that so many signatures of civil servants have been put under the letter within such a short time. In addition, signatures are still being received. Also, officials in other departments are complaining. Blok, for example, also made statements about migration and Eastern Europe.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms that the letter has been sent. Blok said in an internal message last week that he wanted to talk with officials.

Today, actors, scientists, journalists, artists, program makers, writers and poets make an appeal in the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant. They are worried about polarizing statements by politicians. In their open letter they also quote Blok, who would feed racist undercurrents into society with his statements about the multicultural society.

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