UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL - 45TH SESSION

National Statement by the Kingdom of the Netherlands

General Debate - Item 2

Thank you Madam President,

We align ourselves with the EU statement.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands thanks the High Commissioner for her oral update and expresses full support to her and all OHCHR staff.

We share your concern about the human rights impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Human rights are never optional and we need a firm human rights based approach to Build Back Better. In this context, adequate financing of OHCHR and the UN Human Rights Pillar is critical. We call on all states to pay their arrears and support OHCHR more generously.

Madam President,

We remain concerned about violations of human rights in the context of political transition and election processes around the world. The recent developments in Belarus are alarming and we fully support the call for an Urgent Debate on the situation. We call for the immediate release of all political prisoners and independent investigations into allegations of arbitrary arrest, torture and other human rights violations. On Venezuela, while welcoming the recent release of political prisoners, we urge the Venezuelan authorities to proceed to the release of all political prisoners and to ensure peaceful transition through free, fair, transparent and credible elections.

Critical voices, including human rights defenders, journalists and media workers and opposition members, are crucial to ensure respect for human rights, sustainable development as well as to hold authorities accountable. The alarming trend of silencing opposition voices, including through intimidation, attacks and even killings is unacceptable. In this context, we support the call for an independent and impartial investigation into the poisoning of Aleksej Navalny.

We are also concerned about the attacks on human rights defenders and peaceful protestors in Iraq. We condemn the recent targeted assassinations of activists in Basra and Baghdad, support the Iraqi authorities in their efforts to hold those responsible accountable and call upon the authorities to take the necessary steps to ensure the protection of activists.

In closing Madam President,

We are shocked by the devastating impact of the recent explosion in Beirut, which caused enormous human suffering, with many casualties and hundreds of thousands of people losing their homes. It is important that we address the immediate needs such as health care, food and shelter in a coordinated way. And that we do not reinforce the systematic corruption that Lebanon has been suffering from for so long. The International community should support Lebanon in its endeavors to build back better, and we call for independent and credible investigations to ensure accountability.