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The Netherlands and the Development of International Human Rights Instruments

Book | 1st edition 2007 | United Kingdom | Hilde Reiding

Awarded with the Max Van der Stoel Human Rights Award 2007

When discussing the Netherlands’ international human rights policies, the first aspects to come to mind are usually those related to how it addresses and reacts to concrete human rights violations by other countries. In fact, there sometimes appears to be a tendency for public opinion to identify a government’s human rights policy with its attempts to pursue human rights issues in its relations with other states. An important element of the Netherlands’ human rights policy that does not generally generate widespread public attention concerns the further development of regional and global human rights systems.
The present study thoroughly investigates the Netherlands’ policies towards the creation of international human rights norms and accompanying supervisory procedures from the late 1970s to 2006. It analyses the Dutch position in negotiations on a number of instruments that deal with the freedom from torture, economic and social rights, children’s rights and minority rights. It examines whether the Netherlands was in favour of the creation of further human rights standards and more intrusive supervisory mechanisms, and what arguments and interests determined its position. Attention in this respect is also paid to the role and influence of NGOs, parliament, and different bureaucratic institutions.
On the basis of the case studies and an appraisal of the influence of different interests and actors, a general evaluation of the Netherlands’ policies is made. Generally speaking, the Netherlands has a favourable international reputation in the field of human rights, and for a long time domestically, the idea has existed that the Netherlands had a special role to fulfil in the world. Was the Netherlands really acting as a ‘guiding’ human rights country, as many would seem to presume? Or should its policies rather be characterized as the result of a pragmatic adaptation to domestic and international circumstances?

About this book:
‘This is a pioneering work on which later research will undoubtedly build.’
Kevin Boyle in the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights 2009 (115).

Technical info
More Information
Type of product Book
Format Paperback
EAN / ISSN 9789050956543
Series name Human Rights Research Series
Weight 965 g
Status Available
Number of pages xix + 539 p.
Access to exercice No
Publisher Intersentia
Language English
Publication Date Feb 6, 2007
Available on Jurisquare No
Available on Strada Belgique No
Available on Strada Europe No
Available on Strada Luxembourg No


  • Table of Contents
  • Chapter 1. Introduction
  • Chapter 2. The Netherlands and the fight against torture
  • Chapter 3. The UN Convention against Torture
  • Chapter 4. The Netherlands and social and economic rights
  • Chapter 5. The European Social Charter’s Amending Protocol and the Collective Complaints Protocol
  • Chapter 6. The Netherlands and the rights of the child
  • Chapter 7. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Chapter 8. The Netherlands and the protection of minority rights
  • Chapter 9. The High Commissioner on National Minorities
  • Chapter 10. Conclusions
  • Samenvatting (Dutch summary)
  • Annexes
  • Bibliography
  • List of persons interviewed by the author
  • Index
  • About the author