Dutch government invests in human rights

The Netherlands is known as a place where people can be themselves, but unfortunately, there are many countries in the world where such freedoms cannot be taken for granted. ‘Human rights are fundamental rights. They apply to everyone,’ foreign minister Stef Blok said recently. ‘This is why the government is investing an additional €36.2 million in this area over the next four years.’

One of the themes covered in the Netherlands’ annual Human Rights Report is the situation in Syria. ‘To secure and examine evidence of the horrendous crimes being committed in Syria, we are earmarking an extra €2.5 million for the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM), an information database on Syria.’ The minister made this announcement today at the UN Security Council. He was there to attend a session on the importance of international law, including human rights obligations. The Netherlands was one of the initiators of the database.

‘But Syria isn’t the only place in the world where human rights are in jeopardy,’ the minister noted. The Netherlands is committed to greater observance of human rights, particularly for three vulnerable groups: religious minorities (including Christians), LGBTI people and journalists. The Netherlands was the co-organiser of the first regional conference on freedom of religion in Armenia in 2017. ‘We advocate freedom of religion and belief and thus a better position for Christians,’ Mr Blok said.

In addition, embassies and the business community have joined forces in the Workplace Pride network to achieve equality in the workplace. The Netherlands will also continue to seek to form partnerships with other countries (for example through UNESCO), so that journalists can do their work without fear of intimidation, violence or even death.

‘The Netherlands will continue to promote respect for human rights for all, at every opportunity and in every possible way,’ Mr Blok concluded.