Statement by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur Human Rights Defenders

43rd Human Rights Council – Palais des Nations Geneva

4 March 2020

Thank you madam President,

The Kingdom of the Netherlands thanks the Special Rapporteur for its report.

The ongoing systemic efforts by states and non-state actors to silence human rights defenders continue to alarm us.

Human rights defenders, including journalists and humanitarian workers, play a crucial role in documenting violations of international law and human rights, especially when access to conflict and post-conflict zones is restricted. The Netherlands is committed to continue to support human rights defenders as well as organizations that offer support in physical and digital security and psychosocial well-being. The work of human rights defenders is invaluable for peace, security and justice.

Mr Forst, how can states support the development of a UN-wide strategy on human rights defenders in line with the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders?

On Colombia, the Netherlands welcomes your report and takes note of the response of the Colombian government. It would be unfortunate if disagreement over the report stands in the way of careful consideration of its recommendations. In this context a follow-up visit to the country would be of great value. We recognize the great efforts undertaken in order to improve the security conditions of human rights defenders: as the Rapporteur noted, the Attorney General Office’s investigation and prosecution strategy is very positive.

I thank you