Human Rights Council 52nd Session: Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation with human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor - PR UN, WTO and other organisations Geneva

Human Rights Council 52nd Session: Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation with human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor | 15-03-2023

National statement delivered by Charlotte Marres, Human Rights Officer

Thank you Mr. President.

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

We thank the Special Rapporteur for her report, which presents a welcome change in focus from the violations human rights defenders suffer to their often uncredited successes.

In the year that we not only celebrate the 75th anniversary of the UDHR, but also commemorate the 25th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, The Netherlands echoes Ms. Lawlor’s call to emphasize the positive work of human rights defenders, making clear their work is valued and applauded. While we recognize that many human rights defenders are working under extreme pressure or danger, it is their achievements that should define and frame their work and how society perceives them.

Therefore, the Dutch government grants an annual award – the Human Rights Tulip – to outstanding and courageous human rights defenders. With this award, the Netherlands supports human rights defenders to continue their work and to share their story.

The victories of human rights defenders are usually the result of long-term struggles and are typically achieved in collaboration with other defenders, and with a broad range of stakeholders. We, therefore, call on all States to act as allies to protect and support the work of Human Rights Defenders and to recognize them as leaders of positive change.

Ms. Special Rapporteur,

How can States counter negative narratives against human rights defenders more effectively to foster a  societal culture that stands up for human rights and defends defenders?

Thank you