Item 3 - Interactive dialogue with Special Rapporteur on the rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association

Statement of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

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

The Netherlands thanks the Special Rapporteur for the report on access to resources. This report is an important reminder for all States that access to resources is a key prerequisite for a vibrant civil society to be able to operate.

We share your concerns about laws and regulations that are increasingly being put in place to control access to funding and aim to silence, intimidate and harass civil society. We call on all states to provide support to civil society and lift all legal and practical barriers and restrictions to the right of Peaceful Assembly and Association and access to resources. Security concerns should not be misused to curtail civic freedoms.

Covid-19 has shown the creativity and adaptivity of local and grassroots civil society actors. We are deeply concerned about the additional challenges they face in accessing foreign funding. It is pivotal that these groups, in particular youth, women’s rights and grass roots organizations, are actively supported and free from restrictions. We thank the Special Rapporteur for his recognition of the Netherlands’ efforts to support local organizations and shift ownership to local civil society organizations through the ‘Policy Framework for Strengthening Civil Society’.

MR. Special Rapporteur,

Your report highlights that civil society actors are increasingly faced with mandatory registrations, authorizations and other administrative burdens that impede their access to funding, and especially foreign funding. What concrete actions can States undertake to counter this negative trend?

Thank you.