Rosenthal: compact human rights policy for concrete results

Foreign affairs minister Uri Rosenthal will pursue a coherent and compact human rights policy with which the Netherlands can achieve concrete results. The three principles underpinning this policy will be effectiveness, selectivity and cooperation. Mr Rosenthal set out these aims in his human rights memorandum ‘Responsible for Freedom’, which he submitted to the House of Representatives today.

‘With this human rights policy we intend to strengthen human defences against injustice and repression. We seek to help create the conditions that will promote respect for human rights,’ the minister wrote.

Protecting human rights is one of the three pillars of Dutch foreign policy. The other two are fostering security and increasing global prosperity. In the coming years, Dutch human rights efforts will focus on the following themes: freedom of expression, including internet freedom; freedom of religion and belief; LGBT rights and women’s rights. The campaign against child labour will also continue.

Mr Rosenthal does not believe in finger wagging; he is opting for an approach that centres on dialogue and cooperation. Through the Human Rights Fund, the Netherlands will support human rights defenders, for it is down to individuals like these to make a difference in their countries. Efforts will focus strongly on the Arab world. Victims of violations of fundamental rights will always find a defender in the Netherlands. Conversely, the Netherlands will always oppose regimes that treat their citizens with cruelty.