HRC 52 Statement to the Adoption of the UPR of the Netherlands

Published on March 28, 2023

Human Rights Council - 52nd Session, Item 6

Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review Netherlands


Thank you, President

I make this statement on behalf of Rutgers and the Sexual Rights Initiative.

We welcome the Netherlands’ support of the recommendation on bringing the legal definition of rape in line with international human rights law, including the Istanbul Convention. We also regret that the Netherlands noted the recommendation to fully implement guidelines for a more gender responsive and intersectional approach to gender-based violence and sexual harassment. Such an  approach is essential to creating systemic and cultural change. Noting this recommendation is out of step with national developments such as the national action plan for the prevention of sexual violence, and the appointment of a national rapporteur on the same.

The Netherlands must take to take a gender responsive and intersectional approach towards combating sexual violence and to the implementation of the Sexual Offences Bill. We remain concerned by the decision to only implement this bill from 2024, a delay that makes it difficult for many victims of sexual violence to access recourse. We urge the Netherlands to urgently implement this key bill.

Finally, we welcome the Netherlands’ support of the recommendation on comprehensive sexuality education and we therefore expect  the Netherlands to:

  1. Expand comprehensive sexuality education in  the core objectives for school curricula (kerndoelen);
  2. Make sexuality education mandatory in all higher grades of secondary and vocational education as well; and
  3. Ensure that subjects such as sexuality and sexual diversity are included in all teachers' programs, so that teachers will have the right skills, confidence and knowledge  to provide comprehensive sexuality education.


Thank you