UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL - 51TH SESSION

Item 2 - General Debate on oral update of the High Commissioner

Statement of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Delivered by H.E. Paul Bekkers, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Mr. President,  

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

The Netherlands thanks the Deputy High Commissioner for her oral update.

My country is a firm supporter of any individual’s decision to belief or not to belief or to exercise their faith, be it Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hinduist, Jewish or any other religious affiliation. Therefore, the Netherlands is deeply worried about restrictions placed on the right to Freedom of Religion or Belief around the world.

We are gravely concerned about OHCHR’s recent assessment of the human rights situation in Xinjiang, China. The depiction of ongoing atrocity crimes confirms our serious concerns, including the curtailment of the right to Freedom of Religion of Belief of Uyghur Muslim communities as well as discriminatory detention on religious grounds. The Netherlands urges China to comply with its human rights obligations and strongly encourages the High Commissioner to brief the Council [about the situation in Xinjiang] as a matter of urgency.

Mr. President,

In the same vain, my country is gravely concerned that seven countries legally maintain the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy. The Netherlands therefore calls on Brunei, Iran, Afghanistan, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to place a moratorium on the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy and to take measures to ensure that the individual and essential human right to Freedom of Religion or Belief is protected.  

Lastly, we wish to congratulate Mr. Volker Turk on his appointment as the new High Commissioner and we reaffirm our strong support for his independence and that of his Office.

Thank you.