The work of human rights defender Justine Masika Bihamba and her organisation is vital to women and their families in the province of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation Ben Knapen announced the Netherlands’ continuing support for her work after meeting with her on Wednesday. The Netherlands awarded the Human Rights Tulip to Ms Masika Bihamba in 2008.
Eleven Somalis suspected of piracy being held on board HNLMS Van Amstel have been handed over to Seychelles. Last Friday the crew of the naval frigate boarded a suspicious dhow (Arab sailing vessel) that was towing two skiffs off the coast of Somalia. The 17 captured crew members have been freed, and the 11 Somalis, along with a cache of confiscated weapons, were taken aboard the Van Amstel.
Foreign minister Uri Rosenthal has called on China’s vice foreign minister, Zhang Zhijun, [gov.cn sites] to continue China’s constructive role on the world stage. The two ministers were speaking in the margins of a visit by Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, [gov.cn sites] to celebrate the 40 anniversary of diplomatic relations at embassy level between the Netherlands and China.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal sees major opportunities in Iraq for Dutch businesses and has discussed this with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani. A Dutch trade delegation comprising companies from the oil and gas and agricultural sectors will be visiting Baghdad, Basra and Erbil from 2 to 8 June.
To mark World Press Freedom Day, foreign minister Uri Rosenthal issued a statement today on behalf of Freedom Online, an international coalition that he was instrumental in forming.
Foreign minister Uri Rosenthal today announced that if there are no visible improvements to the rule of law in Ukraine in the short term, particularly with respect to the treatment of the imprisoned ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the Dutch government will not be represented at the Euro 2012 football matches in Ukraine.
The Netherlands and its international partners will continue to work for a stable and safe Afghanistan. ‘Recent incidents illustrate the complexity of the situation in Afghanistan, but have not changed the international community’s strategic approach,’ said foreign minister Uri Rosenthal during the parliamentary debate on Afghanistan.
Today foreign minister Uri Rosenthal met with a group of religious leaders. He expressed his concern about the recent violence affecting vulnerable minorities, such as Christians, in a number of countries.