THE HAGUE–The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights has ruled in favour of Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) and his wife: Royal Dutch Airlines KLM may not allow discrimination against women.
The Post Online (TPO) published the news on Thursday after viewing the ruling of the Human Rights Institute. Van Raak had filed a complaint at this institute last year after KLM refrained from intervening in a situation that involved the Member of Parliament’s (MP’s) wife and a group of orthodox Jews.
Van Raak turned to the human rights organisation because of an incident that took place in May 2019 on board a KLM flight from New York to Amsterdam. Van Raak’s wife was assigned a seat next to an Orthodox Jewish man. However, the latter refused to sit next to a woman. The man was travelling with a group of Orthodox Jewish men and together they created quite a fuss about their refusal. When the atmosphere turned ugly and KLM personnel on board did not solve the matter, Van Raak and his wife eventually decided to take different seats in the aircraft, but under protest.
According to Van Raak, KLM should have given the man a choice: to take a seat next to his wife, or leave the aircraft. The Institute for Human Rights has decided that KLM made a “forbidden differentiation” based on gender “by not ensuring a discrimination-free space.”
According to the institute, KLM in cases such as these should not address the victim of discrimination, but the offender. The institute asked KLM to give this instruction to its personnel. Van Raak said he was content with the ruling. “It concerns a public interest: that every woman should be sure that she will not be discriminated against on a KLM flight. I will ask KLM to change its procedure based on this ruling, and to make clear that when men refuse to sit next to a woman, for whatever reason, they will not be accepted by our national airline.”