Human Rights Council Session 42 – Pledge Kingdom of the Netherlands HRC Candidacy 2020-2022 UN

Speech delivered by Ambassador H.E. Monique van Daalen

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

KNL actively supports the observance of all human rights, ranging from economic, social and cultural rights, to civil and political rights.

We pledge to fully cooperate with the Council, to reach out to all states, and to be a reliable partner for civil society. We will continue to respond to attacks on civil society space, both offline and online, and speak out against reprisals.

KNL sees the Sustainable Development Goals as the ultimate prevention agenda. That is why we uphold a rights-based and ‘human security’ perspective in our foreign policy and development cooperation. We also advocate for the operationalisation of the SDGs into the work of the HRC.

We promote the right to freedom of religion and belief, including the freedom to change one’s religion and the right not to profess any religion. We will host the 7th meeting of the Istanbul Process, following HRC resolution 16/18. The meeting will enable interreligious dialogue and facilitate people-to-people contact, which in turn will facilitate meaningful solutions for these global challenges.

We also advance the right to freedom of expression. We promote press freedom worldwide and condemn any violence against journalists and media workers. In April 2020, we will host and co-organise with UNESCO the World Press Freedom Day to underscore the need to better protect journalists offline and online.

Our contributions strive to advance gender equality and the Council’s capacity to promote and protect equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons. We unequivocally support the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Where human rights violations have been committed, KNL works to ensure accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims. We fully endorse the authority and universality of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This year, we have increased our annual contribution enabling OHCHR to strengthen their capacity to support the Council’s accountability mechanisms.

We are self-reflective and continue to strengthen our human rights situation at home. We highly value UN-scrutiny. We have a standing invitation and we take recommendations of Special Procedures’ very seriously. Our forthcoming National Action Plan on Human Rights will reflect our Universal Periodic Review in 2017 and recommendations received by Treaty Bodies. We have an A status national human rights institute.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Smart multilateralism is needed to counter the increasing pressure on the human rights framework. The Human Rights Council is the primary UN Forum where governments and civil society meet to define and advance international human rights standards. The HRC is fit for this job and as a member, we pledge to equip the HRC to be even more responsive, inclusive and credible:

More responsive, because the HRC was created to address the most serious human rights violations. Discussing concerns and assisting countries should remain the HRC’s focus. The Office should be adequately funded. As a top-tier donor with a significant annual unearmarked contribution, we take responsibility.

More inclusive, because to date 1 out of 3 UN Member States have not yet served on the Council. KNL co-founded a cross regional contact group on HRC membership to enable more states to stand for election.

More credible, because members with poor human rights records, refusing all cooperation with the Council and its mechanisms, seriously undermine the Council’s authority and credibility. Membership of the Council is not a free ride. We pledge to practice at home what we promote internationally.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We hope to be elected on October 16, and as the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Geneva, I pledge to you that we will be your reliable partner to respect all human rights, reach out to others and to respond to human rights violations.

Thank you.