Supporting human rights defenders stays top priority for the Netherlands says new Minister in Geneva

March 1, 2013

Frans Timmermans, Minister for European Affair...

It is well-known that the Netherlands give a high priority to support of human rights defenders and their organisations. In his address to the high-level segment of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva on 25 February, the new foreign minister Frans Timmermans confirmed that this is indeed one of his main priorities.‘Human rights defenders and organisations are having to deal with more and more obstruction and being treated as criminals,’ Mr Timmermans said. ‘In many more parts of the world, repression directed against bloggers, journalists and members of the public is increasing. This is simply unacceptable.’ Women’s rights are another of  Mr Timmermans’ priorities. The Netherlands takes a stand against every form of violence against women – from rape to honour killing and human trafficking. It is also actively promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights and the participation of women in society. ‘Men must be less self-centred and give women more rights,’ Mr Timmermans continued. ‘This helps the world to move forward – and men benefit from it.’ A third Dutch priority is to promote the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders LGBT. In about 80 countries, same-sex relations are a criminal offence and in seven countries, punishable by death. ‘There are three things we need to do,’ said Mr Timmermans. ‘Promote acceptance, fight discrimination and stop the criminalisation of gay people.’ Mr Timmermans also met with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navanetham Pillay and discussed ways of opposing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  In addition the Minister had talks with NGOs actively involved in promoting LGBT rights.

via Top priority for the Netherlands: supporting human rights defenders | News item | Government.nl.

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