Netherlands seeks seat on UN Human Rights Council

On Tuesday the Netherlands officially launched a campaign to sit once again on the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, set out the Netherlands’ candidacy in a speech in Geneva in which she stressed the significance of this body, the world’s most important forum for human rights.

The Netherlands is applying for membership for the 2020-2022 term. The UN General Assembly will elect the new members for this term in New York in October. The Netherlands sat on the Council from 2015 to 2017, and currently has observer status.

‘Respect for human rights is a crucial condition for stability, growth, trade and prosperity,’ the minister said. The Dutch government works internationally to promote and protect human rights, with a focus, among others, on freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, and equal rights for women and girls, and LGBTI people.

According to the minister, human rights and the rule of law are integral to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. ‘Without respect for human rights it is impossible to work towards lasting security, peace and prosperity for all. Everyone has the right to live in dignity and freedom,’ Ms Kaag said.

In Geneva the minister also met with Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.