Separation of Religion or Belief and State




First Session U.N. Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (7-18 April, 2008)




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The Netherlands Universal Periodic Review was held by the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday 15 April 2008 from 9:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m.  This link will access these reports in the Netherlands Universal Periodic Review: National Report; Compilation of UN Information; Summary of Stakeholders Information; Questions Submitted in Advance; Report of the Working Group; Related Web cast Archives.


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The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process launched by the UN Human Rights Council in 2008 to review the human rights obligations and responsibilities of all UN Member States by 2011. Click for an Introduction to the Universal Periodic Review, Process and News:


Excerpts: Responsibility for developing and implementing policies against discrimination and racism in the Netherlands has largely been delegated by the national government to local authorities. Research carried out by Amnesty International indicates that fewer than 10 per cent of municipal authorities have addressed discrimination and racism at a local level by adopting general policies or action plans. Fewer than 20 per cent of municipal authorities have developed policies to combat discrimination and racism in specific areas of concern, such as law enforcement, employment or education.


The Tandem Project Follow-up recommends the Netherlands develop integrated model approaches to international human rights standards on freedom of religion or belief in municipal governments, public and religious schools, non-governmental organizations and places of worship as called for by the 1981 UN Declaration: 4. 1 All States shall take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the recognition, exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all fields of civil, economic, political, social and cultural life.  4. 2 All States shall make all efforts to enact or rescind legislation where necessary to prohibit any such discrimination, and to take all appropriate measures to combat intolerance on the grounds of religion or other beliefs in this matter. Such measures would include action programs on integration, dialogue and education, as part of the four year follow-up to the Netherlands Universal Periodic Review.


The 25 Year Commemoration of the 1981 U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, was held in Prague, the Czech Republic in 2006. Plenary addresses were by Mr. Piet de Klerk, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations in New York, then Netherlands Ambassador-at-large for Human Rights; and the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Asma Jahangir (Attachment).


For UN Member States, with ideological differences on defamation of religion and the right to change a religion or belief, it is fundamental to world peace and security to achieve consensus between deeply-held religious beliefs and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Attachment).


Attachments: Netherlands Universal Periodic Review & Freedom of Religion or Belief; 25 Year Anniversary of the 1981 UN Declaration; Mandate on Freedom of Religion or Belief Adopted without Consensus; Vote on Defamation of Religion.