Friday 17 june 2022
The Dutch embassy in Costa Rica has won the first edition of the Human Rights Prize for Dutch Embassies. This biennial prize is awarded by IUCN NL, together with 17 other Dutch human rights and development organisations to the Dutch embassy that has been most proactive, concrete and effective in defending and promoting human rights. Today Christine Pirenne, ambassador to Costa Rica, receives the prize during an award ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague.
Header photo: Scarlet Macaws in Costa Rica (c) Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash
Why this prize?
Time is running out for human rights. Worldwide, human rights are under attack. Those who stand up for human rights are confronted with unprecedented persecution, intimidation and violence, both physically and digitally. In this context, the role of embassies is more important than ever. Embassies should, as required by EU guidelines, proactively support human rights defenders and civil society and promote human rights, both through the projects they support and through their diplomatic work. The Human Rights Prize is a token of appreciation for the embassy that has done this in a relevant way in the past two years. The Human Rights Prize is complementary to the Embassy Prize that is awared every two years by VNO-NCW, MKB-Nederland and evofenedex to the embassy that provides the best economic support.
Winner: Embassy Costa Rica
The winning embassy is based in Costa Rica, but is also active in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. The Embassy is an active and visible advocate of human rights in Central America, despite the sometimes dangerous context.
‘The ambassador and the embassy staff make a strategic commitment, for example by speaking out publicly and by attending court cases of human rights defenders who are wrongfully prosecuted.’Ruth Kronenburg, jury President and director of Free Press Unlimited.
Runners up: Poland and Hungary
The Dutch embassies in Poland and Hungary come in at a shared second place. In both countries, human rights and the rule of law are increasingly undermined. Amid the growing challenges, the embassies provide valuable support to local civil society and continue to work to keep the rule of law and human rights on the agenda. ‘Freedom, democracy and respect for human rights cannot be taken for granted, as the war in Ukraine has shown. To protect these values, democratic countries like the Netherlands must invest in human rights and democracy worldwide, including in and around Europe. Dutch embassies, such as those in Hungary and Poland, play an important role in this,’ says Ruth Kronenburg.
The Human Rights Prize for Dutch Embassies is awarded by ActionAid, Amnesty International Netherlands; Arisa, COC Netherlands; Cordaid; Defence for Children-ECPAT; Free Press Unlimited; Hivos; International Campaign for Tibet; IUCN NL; Justice and Peace; Lawyers for Lawyers; Netherlands Helsinki Comittee; Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD); Nederlands Juristen Comité voor de Mensenrechten; Oxfam Novib; Peace Brigades International; PAX.