UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL – 44th SESSION

Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression

Statement by the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Madam President,

We align with the EU statement.

We thank Special Rapporteur Kaye for this timely report on freedom of expression and pandemics. The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a staunch supporter of the right to freedom of expression, both online and offline.

The COVID-19 pandemic unequivocally demonstrates the importance of free and independent media, to inform the public, to ensure access to information and to hold public authorities accountable.

The Netherlands echoes your concerns about the abuse of health measures and the fight against disinformation as pretexts to unduly limit the freedom of expression, including through internet shutdowns, and other forms of censorship. There is never an excuse to attack journalists.

Access to information is an essential component of the right to freedom of expression. Together with Brazil, Canada, Fiji, Namibia, and Sweden, we are working on a substantive resolution on freedom of expression and access to information.

Mr. Kaye,

You call upon states to be honest with people and to give them access to information in a way that they can consume and that promotes non-discrimination. Could you elaborate on this point and share with us a good practice of this? 

Finally, the Kingdom of the Netherlands wishes to thank you for your tireless efforts to protect freedom of expression, online and offline, during your tenure. Your reports and public statements will remain a guidance for all of us. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Thank you.