UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL - 48TH SESSION

Item 2 - General Debate

National statement by the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Madam President,  

The Kingdom of the Netherlands aligns itself with the EU statement.  

Madam High Commissioner,  

We thank you for your oral update and country reports. We wish to again express our full support to your mandate and the work of your Office.  

Today, as a member of this Council, we reiterate the need to Respect, Reach out and Respond.   

First, Respect. Respect for human rights is crucial for safety and sustainable peace. Respect also means fostering a culture of accountability and justice for victims and survivors of human rights violations. 

The Netherlands calls on the interim government in Afghanistan to provide safety and security to the Afghan population, including members of vulnerable groups, such as women and girls, human rights defenders, as well as journalists and media workers. Accountability for serious human rights violations and abuses and international humanitarian law violations must be ensured and future violations must be prevented.

The human rights situation in Venezuela remains critical. We appreciate the High Commissioner’s important work and urge Venezuelan authorities to facilitate OHCHR’s permanent and undisturbed presence, and implement its recommendations.

Second, Reach out. Madam High Commissioner, you have once said: “my Office must speak out against measures that silence civil society”. We could not agree more. It is of utmost importance that the voices of civil society are represented here in this room. We call on your leadership to always respond to reprisals and set up clear UN protocols. 

Moreover, the work of OHCHR should be adequately financed from the UN Regular Budget. The Netherlands and partners will continue to advocate vocally for adequate funding of the UN’s human rights pillar.

And third: Respond. The Netherlands firmly believes that membership of this Council is not a free ride. Elected members of this Council have a special responsibility to respect the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights and to respond to situations of concern. The credibility of this Council depends on the quality of its membership. 

Madam High Commissioner,  

Please allow me to end this statement with an appeal to all members of the UN, and especially to those who have never been members of this Council before. The Council would enjoy more legitimacy and credibility if the full UN family can be represented at some point in time. We therefore encourage those member states who have not yet had the possibility to take a seat in this Council to consider putting forward their candidacy. 

Thank you.