Human Rights Watch opens office in Amsterdam

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Human Rights Watch is opening an office in Amsterdam to “intensify its advocacy on key human rights issues both in the Netherlands and around the world”.

“The Netherlands' voice and influence are needed in trouble spots around the world," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "The Dutch government is an important international player in defending global human rights, but its reach still falls short of its potential."

The Netherlands is the 15th country in which Human Rights Watch has a permanent office. It has staff in 21 more.

In a recent letter addressed to Dutch coalition negotiator Herman Tjeenk Willink, Human Rights Watch called on the next government to press the European Union to create institutions to advance human rights worldwide. Human Rights Watch cited the need to investigate crimes against humanity in Burma, to protect civilians in the Great Lakes region of Africa, and to press the Indonesian government to release political prisoners.

It also urged the Dutch government to give the highest possible priority to human rights in its international relations while leading by example and addressing flaws in its own asylum system and integration policy.

Human Rights Watch called on the new government to halt deportations to countries such as Somalia, where returned migrants are at risk of abuse. Human Rights Watch also said the Netherlands should eliminate the discriminatory "integration test abroad," which requires family members seeking to join legal migrants from some non-Western countries to pass a test on Dutch language and society.  

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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