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UPR Media Briefing Note

Thursday, 31 May 2012 (Morning)
For use of information media; not an official record

State under review

Netherlands
Represented by 21-member delegation headed by H.E. Ms. Liesbeth SPIES, Minister of Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Netherlands page on UPR website.

Troika *

Benin, Russian Federation, Thailand.

Opening statement by State under review

Key points from opening statement of State under review:

  • The Netherlands extended a standing invitation to Special Procedures of the HRC and also established a national human rights institution which will start its activities in a few months’ time and will monitor the respect for human rights in the country;
  • Last year the Children’s ombudsman was established whose first monitoring report was published two weeks ago;
  • Last month the coalition government resigned although was working towards parliamentary elections planned for September this year which would endorse the full respect for human rights; among these measures was equality for every citizen, promoting integration, fighting domestic violence, and combatting human trafficking;
  • The Government was preparing for ratification of the CRPD in 2012 and also planned to accede to the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing Violence against Women and Domestic Violence;
  • An anti-discrimination action plan has been sent to the House of Representatives in 2010 and 2011; the Netherlands was also the first country in Europe to enact anti-discrimination legislation;

(Statement from representative from Aruba)

  • In Aruba, efforts have been made to introduce and modern legislation in conformity with human rights conventions;
  • In December 2011, the Aruban Parliament passed the Country Ordinance on Compulsory Education and guaranteed access to the educational system to all children, irrespective of their legal status;
  • In April 2012, the new Criminal Code was adopted which, among other things, established a new juvenile justice system;
  • Progress has also been made on the island in the area of human trafficking, and in that regard an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary working group was established in 2007;

(Statement from representative from Curaçao)

  • Noted that the island gained autonomous status in October 2010;
  • A new Penal Code was instituted in November 2011 which provided, among other things, the criminalization of trafficking in persons and the modernization of juvenile criminal law;
  • Another recent decision was the establishment of a Human Rights Institute in accordance with the Paris Principles;
  • Also noted that one-third of members of Parliament in Curaçao were women.
(See full statement on the Netherlands page on UPR Extranet)

Participants

In total, 49 States participated in the discussion:  23 HRC members and 26 observers  (Statements available on the Netherlands page on UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Policies and programmes in place to advance LGBT rights;
  • The lead role in the Internet freedom agenda in global fora;
  • The establishment of a national human rights institution and the Children’s Ombudsperson;
  • Advances made in the area of human trafficking;
  • Measures to protect the rights of asylum seekers;
  • Ratification of several international conventions;

Issues and Questions

Main issues and questions raised by the Working Group:

  • The States policies and programmes to combat all forms of discrimination, racism and xenophobia, including based on religion;
  • Efforts to advance the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers in the country, including in the area of justice and detention;
  • Measures to eliminate violence against women and domestic violence;
  • The State’s freedom of expression polices and legislation;

Recommendations

In total, States participating in the discussion posed a series of recommendations to the Netherlands. These included, among others: 

  • To develop a national action plan to combat all forms of discrimination;
  • To take further measures to combat discrimination, including in the labour market and that which targeted foreigners and minorities;
  • To take all measures to prevent and eliminate all manifestations of racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia and religious intolerance;
  • To review and amend legislation and polices with a view to respect cultural and religious backgrounds of migrant communities, in particular Muslims and Arab communities;
  • To address cases of discrimination against Muslims perpetrated through statements made in the media by political and public figures; to appeal the verdict made by the Amsterdam District Court in the case of Geert Wilders on the charges of incitement to hatred and discrimination;
  • To enact laws and legislation on freedom of expression in a manner that balanced obligations under articles 19 and 20 of the ICCPR;
  • To ensure that freedom of expression, press freedom and Internet freedom would not lead to racism, intolerance and hatred against minority groups;
  • To pursue an active a strict policy to end unfair pay differences between men and women especially in government organisations;
  • To review immigration policies that to ensure they were in line with international human rights standards; to take steps to reduce the rate of persons detained for reasons of illegal immigration;
  • To ratify the Convention on the rights of migrant workers and members of their families; to consider ratifying ILO Convention 189 on domestic workers;
  • To reduce detention of individuals solely for immigration purposes; to ensure increased oversight and monitoring by civil society of conditions of detention for asylum seekers;
  • To consider additional steps to ensure that any potential changes in court fees were proportionate and affordable, and did not prejudice access to the legal system;
  • To consider additional measures to ensure that the interests of children were properly taken into account in provisions for asylum seeking families;
  • To take effective legal measures to combat all acts of violence against women and domestic violence; to implement the recommendations posed by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and CEDAW;
  • To step up efforts to combat the sexual exploitation of children and prosecute perpetrators of such offences; to withdraw all reservations from the CRC; to prohibit corporal punishment throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands;
  • To ratify the CRPD and its OP; to strengthen efforts to promote access of persons with disabilities to education and the labour market;
  • To enforce legal prohibitions against discrimination in the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights; to step up efforts to ensure that education and health programmes were afforded to all;
  • To adopt a national plan of action to combat the rise in homelessness; to ratify the OP to the CESCR;
  • To continue to assist, when requested, Aruba and Curacao and St. Maarten to develop human rights institutions, laws and policies.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on the Netherlands is scheduled to take place on Monday, 4 June 2012.

The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

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