Promoting and protecting human rights worldwide is a priority in the foreign policy of the Netherlands. The Netherlands employs a wide array of actions and initiatives geared towards the strengthening of human rights.
Human rights are the cornerstone of human dignity, freedom and development, and form the basis for open and free societies all over the world. There can be no democracy or rule of law if these rights are not promoted and protected. The Netherlands strives to defend human rights, both at home and abroad. Doing so is a moral and legal obligation, besides which respect for human rights leads to a more stable and prosperous world.
Universal values − on which all our efforts are based − are the point of departure for a proactive human rights policy. These values remain the same, but the context has changed. The rise of new, self-assured actors on the world stage, combined with the ever-greater role played by the European Union, makes it imperative for the Netherlands to find the best way of shaping its human rights policy in the international arena.
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