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2003-08-22 08:40:00
Embassy The Hague
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 THE HAGUE 002114 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/21/2008



Classified By: PolOff Nathaniel Dean Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: DRL PDAS Michael Southwick met with Dutch
interlocutors on August 18 to discuss US-led and multilateral
efforts in the field of human rights. The Dutch exchanged EU
goals for the UNGA 3rd committee as well as thoughts on Cuba,
CHR WEOG rotation scheme, and US-EU cooperation on human
rights. PDAS Southwick stressed the importance of the
Communities of Democracies program, noting the need for
increased international support. End Summary.

3rd Committee: Country Resolutions, Violence Against Women



2. (C) Jan Berteling, MFA Director for Human Rights and
Peacebuiling, and his staff outlined EU plans for the UN 3rd
Committee for PDAS Southwick. The EU will put forth a
resolution on Burma; a decision on a special CHR session on
Burma has not been made. (Note: PDAS Southwick noted US
concern about Thai pressure on Burmese dissidents and human
rights activists seeking refuge in Thailand. End Note.) The
EU will also sponsor a resolution on the DRC. EU members
have yet to make a formal decision on an Iran resolution.
The Dutch remain hopeful that the EU will decide favorably;
support among members is much greater now that it was at this
time last year. However, Berteling voiced some concern that
the Italians might work to block an EU effort if Iran
produces EU-desired results by signing an additional protocol
under the IAEA.

3. (C) Berteling was curious if the U.S. would take action
in the 3rd committee on Zimbabwe, China, and North Korea.
PDAS Southwick commented that the U.S. is giving
consideration to sponsoring a Zimbabwe resolution. Both
Southwick and Berteling agreed that the situation continues
to worsen. If the U.S. does sponsor, Berteling stated that
the EU will likely support a resolution; however, some doubts
remain as to whether or not the EU could find consensus on
the topic. In the event that the EU cannot support, the
Dutch will/will support a U.S. resolution on their own.
Noting reports that some EU countries believe that there is
not enough burden sharing between the EU and the US on
resolutions, PDAS Southwick said more thought is being given
to the US taking the lead. The successful US-sponsored
Belarus resolution in the CHR shows that US leadership is not
necessarily a liability.

4. (C) On China, PDAS Southwick commented that the U.S. is
actively reviewing the human rights situation, but that no
decision to put forth a resolution has been made. On North
Korea, PDAS Southwick noted that the U.S. will carefully
review the status of the complex multilateral political
discussions before considering any resolution for the 3rd


5. (C) The Dutch announced that the EU will sponsor a
resolution on Violence Against Women, and would like U.S.
support. To this end, the Dutch provided a draft copy
(emailed to DRL and IO for action), asking for U.S. comments.
The EU will discuss the text in consultations in New York in
September. Berteling outlined that the Dutch anticipate some
difficulty with this resolution, particularly from OIC
countries such as Pakistan and Egypt. The GoNL would also be
forced to vote against any amendment clauses that oppose
prostitution, which undoubtedly other countries will propose.
(Note: Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands. End Note.)
PDAS Southwick said a major concern for us would be how
CEDAW is treated since the US has not ratified that treaty.
Berteling said the reference would follow agreed upon

No EU resolution on Sudan


6. (C) Having just completed a visit to Khartoum, PDAS
Southwick outlined the appalling human rights situation in
country. Berteling said that despite the GoNL's belief that
situation in country warrants a 3rd committee resolution, the
EU will not put one forth. (Note: At a recent EU meeting on
HR, Sudan was not even mentioned.) The Dutch, who quietly
drafted the EU's Sudan resolution at the last CHR, are behind
this non-action. The GoNL is acting as a mediator in the
peace process and the post-peace donor process, and believes
it would be detrimental to Dutch efforts to draft and/or put
forth a document berating the warring parties. PDAS
Southwick noted the U.S. will consider sponsoring if there is
no success in the peace process.

Cuba - CHR and Guantanamo


7. (C) The Dutch remain concerned about the status of
noncombattants in Guantanamo Bay. The MFA receives regular
inquiries from Parliament as to the status of the prisoners
and due process. While the Dutch are supportive of the U.S.,
the GoNL is finding it more and more difficult to defend the
USG without additional information. PDAS Southwick offered
to get clearance to share a document recently sent to Geneva,
which outlines in detail the U.S. position to date. PDAS
pointed out that the US position is more thoughtful and
responsive to treaty concerns than is sometimes alleged.
This somewhat placated Dutch concerns. (Note: Foreign
Minister de Hoop Scheffer has promised Parliament to continue
discussions with the U.S. on this matter. To date, the Dutch
have raised Guantananmo in every discussion on human rights
in the past year. End Note.)

8. (C) Berteling stated that the GoNL was disappointed by the
CHR Cuba resolution. He said it was too weak, and the EU
considered voting against it. PDAS noted that the resolution
could have been stronger, but that it was nevertheless a
victory. The Dutch noted that bilateral relations with Cuba
are at a low point. (Note: Two local GoNL-sponsored NGOs
announced this week that they will no longer fund artist
group Biennale of Havana out of protest of the Cuban
government's crackdown in March. End Note.)

WEOG Rotation Scheme for the CHR


9. (C) Karel van Kesteren, Director of the MFA's UN and IFI
Department, and PDAS Southwick reviewed reasons for the
failure of CHR WEOG rotation scheme efforts earlier this
year. Van Kesteren understood the reluctance by some larger
countries to give up too many seats, and stated that he did
not feel the U.S. needed to and/or should have done so.
However, despite the failure, van Kesteren would like again
pursue this idea. He believes a rotation scheme is vital to
ensuring the strength of the WEOG group in the CHR. Van
Kesteren envisions larger WEOG members finding consensus on
numbers, followed by consultations with medium-sized
countries, and finally dictating a solution to small states
and micro-states. Van Kesteren emphasized that negotiations
would need to take place in capitals, not New York, for there
to be any chance of success. PDAS Southwick agreed to relay
van Kesteren thoughts to the Department, noting that his
consultations with the French in Geneva at the CHR led him to
believe that the French would never consider giving up more
than one year in a rotation scheme.

Community of Democracies


10. (SBU) PDAS Southwick stressed the importance of the
Community of Democracies (CD) initiative, highlighting that
the seeds of democracy can grow in areas where it is
traditionally vacant, such as Latin America. He described a
successful meeting of African and Latin American CD members
in Miami earlier this year. While the initiative is not yet
strong, PDAS Southwick urged the Dutch to seek ways to
support it. He noted that Italy is supportive, driven by
substantial interest in the Radical Party. Berteling is not
convinced of the value of CD and said that there was no
interest in CD in the Dutch parliament. He has not seen any
strength emanating from CD, and is doubtful of the usefulness
of the initiative. He also wondered how this initiative will
fare when there are so many other democracy programs
globally, highlighting the International Conference of New or
Restored Democracies as one example. PDAS Southwick
emphasized an important difference of CD, namely that
countries must be invited to join. If CD gains enough global
support, those on the "outside" may feel pressure to be
included via democratic reform within their countries.
Berteling is open to the principles and ideals of CD, and the
GoNL will "wait and see" as it progresses. The GoNL would
support an UNGA resolution, but it will not work to champion
CD internationally at present.

US-EU Cooperation


11. (C) PDAS Southwick thanked Berteling for both Dutch and
EU cooperation in advance of the 59th CHR. Both agreed that
timely efforts and discussions resulted in the highest-level
of US-EU cooperation in years. Nevertheless, the Dutch
offered several ways in which cooperation could be improved:
--An increased amount of burden-sharing on
country-specific resolutions. The EU would particularly
appreciate support on Turkmenistan and Chechnya;

--Earlier signals that the U.S. will support EU

--Greater cooperation in lobbying capitals. US and EU
could be more effective if we worked together to coordinate
our approach, particularly in Africa. The Dutch acknowledge
that their own efforts in capitals needed to be beefed up.

12. PDAS Southwick has cleared this cable.