Posts Tagged ‘Dutch Foreign Policy’

Dutch Advisory Council broadly endorses Government’s human rights policy

January 10, 2014

On 24 September 2013 the Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs [AIV] published its advice on the Government’s policy letter (a kind of white paper) on human rights (“Respect and Justice for All”) of June 2013. The Council, which can be quite critical, has broadly endorsed the proposed policy. The link to the full document is below but the highlights are as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans: “Support for Human Rights Defenders worldwide is a Top Priority”

April 18, 2013

The annual lecture on human rights in Maastricht with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, has quickly become a major event on the human rights agenda. As I was not able to attend, i have the great honor to introduce as my first guest author the well-known Theo van Boven, professor emeritus at Maastricht University, former Director of Human Rights in the UN, former Special Rapporteur on several subjects and a Patron of the MEA. With many thanks and in the hope that this will encourage others to contribute:

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Theo van Boven 2011 (c) THF

On Wednesday April 17th, the newly appointed Foreign Minister of The Netherlands, Frans Timmermans, came to a very well-attended meeting at Maastricht University where he made a passionate plea for human rights as one of the cornerstones of Dutch foreign policy. While the Foreign Minister was the main speaker, his appearance was framed in a broader setting with other lively presentations on such issues as the need for consistency between domestic and foreign human rights policy (“practise what you preach”), the role of women in the Syrian armed conflict and the Rights of Lesbian ,Gay, Trans, Bisexual and Intersex Persons (LGTBI rights).
 
Frans Timmermans expressed his strong personal commitment to human rights : “I passionately believe in human rights” and he recalled that no human right was achieved without struggle. He stressed that human rights, the rule of law, and democracy are strongly interconnected but that democratic majorities should respect the rights of minorities and individuals.
 
The Netherlands foreign minister praised the role of persons,groups and organizations who in situations of great risk are standing up for human rights. He pledged his support for human rights activists/defenders as a  “top priority“. It is of crucial importance to help human rights activists in expressing themselves and for The Netherlands to coöperate with other countries, bilaterally and through international organizations, in the defence and the promotion of the values enshrined in human rights instruments.
 
Among the points that came up in the Q and A discussion were the need to give due and equal weight to the promotion and protection of economic,social and cultural rights together with civil and political rights; the inherent and imminent danger to human rights of the use of drones; the serious reduction in the Netherlands budget for development coöperation ( although not implying the reduction of funds in support of human rights activities); and the persistent evil of human trafficking as a contemporary form of slavery.

Theo van Boven