UN Researcher Urges Abolition of Sinterklaas Festival
THE HAGUE, 23/10/13 - The head of the United Nations working party investigating the question of whether Black Piet (Zwarte Piet) is a racist concept considers that the Netherlands should completely abolish the Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) festival.
''The working party cannot understand why the Dutch cannot see that (the Santa Claus festival) is a return to slavery and that this festival must stop in the 21st century,” according to Verene Shepherd, human rights researcher at the United Nations.
''If I, as a black person, were to live in the Netherlands, I would have objections,” said the Jamaican Tuesday on TV programme EenVandaag.
The UN is carrying out an investigation of the question of whether Black Pete is a racist concept. Although the official UN investigation has not yet been completed, Shepherd has already formed her views. The premier should ban the festival, according to Shepherd. "He has the power to change this and to exercise his influence on the group that keeps this custom going.”
Polls show that the vast majority of the population sees no racist element whatever in Black Pete and is irritated b the annually recurring debates on this. Premier Mark Rutte does not appear to be sensitive to complaints either. "Zwarte Piet is simply black, we can do little to change that,” he said of the centuries-long tradition Friday.