Koenders: broad-based dialogue on human rights with China

The Netherlands and China recently held a broad-based dialogue on safeguarding human rights. The situation in both countries was discussed in a two-day meeting in The Hague and Amsterdam in an open and critical spirit. ‘The far-reaching nature of the Netherlands’ and China’s relationship gives us scope to discuss this sort of issue frankly and at length,’ said foreign minister Bert Koenders.

During his visit to Beijing in June, the minister talked at length about human rights with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and raised the question of human rights consultations. Mr Wang said that China would be open to holding the next round within several months. ‘The last human rights consultations between the Netherlands and China took place in December 2013,’ remarked Mr Koenders, ‘so it was about time for the next instalment.’

The Chinese delegation, led by a special representative for human rights and comprising delegates from the Communist Party, the National People’s Congress and the Ministry of Public Security, travelled to the Netherlands in early October. The Dutch and Chinese delegations agreed to meet again in the future, with the next round of consultations to be held in China.

The human rights situation in China will also naturally be a topic of discussion during the Dutch state visit to the country in late October. Mr Koenders will accompany Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima on the visit, leading an extensive trade mission at the same time.