UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL – 44th SESSION

ID IE on sexual orientation and gender identity

Statement by the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Thank you Madame President,

We align ourselves with the EU statement. The Netherlands expresses its full support to Mr. Madrigal-Borloz and welcomes his report on practices of so-called ‘conversion therapy’. We also welcome the guidelines the expert has recently presented on COVID-19 response and recovery and the position of LGBTI persons.

The report provides an exceptionally clear analysis leading to the conclusion: practices of “conversion therapy” are by their very nature degrading, inhuman and cruel and create a significant risk of torture. States have a responsibility to act and to examine specific cases in the light of international human rights obligations. We stress that the right to freedom of religion or belief cannot be invoked to justify such violations.

We also emphasize the role of the Equal Rights Coalition and the UN LGBTI Core Group in New York to address this issue, to discuss the existence of this practice around the world and to keep this topic on the international agenda.

As the report shows, different types of conversion therapy exist around the world. We all have to reflect on our own domestic policies and practices. In the Netherlands, there is an ongoing independent research about conversion therapy, which will result in recommendations on the options to deal with this practice. We thank the expert for his willingness to share his views on this topic with our domestic policy experts during a video call last May. 

Mr. Madrigal-Borloz,

given the role of religion and belief and the position of children and young people when it comes to conversion therapy, what possibilities do you see to pro-actively address conversion therapy together with the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ahmed Shaheed, and the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children, Najat Maalla M’jid?

Thank you.