Combating the most serious human rights violations

The use of the death penalty and torture are still all too common around the world. The Netherlands takes a consistent stand against these most flagrant and serious violations of human rights.

Death penalty and torture

The Netherlands works to combat the use of the death penalty and torture, acting as much as possible through the European Union (EU). The EU calls for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide, with a moratorium on executions as an interim goal. The Netherlands supports human rights organisations working towards these ends.

The Netherlands is also making efforts on the following issues:

  • advocating accession by as many countries as possible to the UN Convention against Torture, and support by as many countries as possible for the UN resolution on the death penalty;
  • supporting the principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P). This principle lays down what needs to be done when a state fails to respond to massive atrocities on its territory, and when the international community has a duty to intervene, for example through coercive measures or sanctions. Regional organisations like the African Union play an indispensable role in this regard;
  • supporting the system of international criminal justice. For example, we make forensic experts available who gather evidence for international criminal proceedings. The Netherlands also presses in the EU for national criminal justice systems to be linked to the international system. And we are working towards an international convention on mutual legal assistance and extradition in cases of international crimes like terrorism or piracy.