Committee:Social and Humanitarian CommitteTopic:Preventing violence and discrimination based on sexualorientation and gender identity Country:NetherlandsDelegateName: Elena KepertiTheUniversal Declaration of Human Rights states that “allhuman beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”,that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman ordegrading treatment or punishment” as well as that “everyone isentitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in thisDeclaration, without distinction of any kind”.
Even though thesedoctrines were adopted in 1948, the world has fallen quite short ofthese goals. Discrimination based on sexual orientation and genderidentity is one of the most solemn problems in our contemporarysociety, which undoubtedly violates those fundamental rights andleads to violence against numerous individuals around the world.Consequently, the need to tackle this major issue, by discussing itscauses and by taking measures in a legal and practical level, ismandatory worldwide.TheKingdom of the Netherlands strongly believes that all human beingsshould be treated equally. As stated in the first article of ourcountry’s constitution “all persons in the Netherlands shall betreated equally in equal circumstances”. The Netherlands has takenmeasures in order to ensure that this is implemented and respected inevery sector of human activity.
First and foremost, as an activeUnited Nations member, the Netherlands has participated in everydiscussion relevant to the topic and has voted in favor of allresolutions aiming to protect the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Transgender and Intersex people, including the A/HRC/RES/17/19 in2011. Same sex sexual activity has been legal in the Netherlandssince 1811. From 1971, the age of consent is the same for bothheterosexual and homosexual people, for all forms of sexualintercourse.
Homosexual, transgender and intersex people can openlyserve in the military in the last 55 years. Moreover, sexreassignment surgery is legal, but not necessary when a person wantsto change his or her legal gender. The Equal Rights Law, which wasenacted in 1994 in our country, bans discrimination based sexualorientation on the grounds of education, health services, provisionof goods, housing, employment and public accomodation andcriminalises hate speech. In 2001, the Netherlands became the firstcountry in the whole world to legalise same sex marriage, whendomestic parternship benefits were granted to same sex couples in1998, paving the way for other nations to do so.
A married coupleformed of people of the same sex has the same rights and obligationsbefore the law as a married couple formed of a male and a femaleperson. This includes the right of automatic parenthood of bothparents after birth and the right to joint adoption. Apart from legalmeasures, our country has implemented measures so as to raiseawareness of the issue among the public. These measures start from anopen minded, liberal education which includes sex education classesfor students of all ages, in which homosexuality is mentioned.
Inaddition, campaigns are held in every place in the country in orderto inform every citizen about the issue. The Pride Festivalsorganised every year in the Netherlands are supported by ourgovernment, both in an ethical and in a financial level. TheNetherlands is fully supportive of the work of various NonGovernmental Organisations, such as COC Nederland, the oldestexisting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender organisation in theworld.
The results of these efforts can be easily understood if onenotices that in the 2015 European Union member poll 91% of theNetherlands supported same sex marriage. Mydelegation, deeply concerned about the dangers of violence anddiscrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identitytowards victims as well as the society in general, calls upon memberstates to ensure their constitutional and legal systems are grantingequal rights to all their citizens. The Netherlands believes that anykind of punishment for consensual sexual activity should be avoided ,especially the death penalty which is sadly used in many UnitedNations member states. Our country finds the existence of Sodomy Lawsin the 21stcentury unacceptable and supports its immediate abolition. However,it is in favor of the increasing of sentencing for those who violatethe rights of other people based on their sexual orientation andgender identity and the criminalisation of hate speech.
TheNetherlands, grounded in international human rights law, suggests thecreation of an international database that will contain informationabout the state in which the rights of the members of the Lesbian,Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community are in. What ismore, the Kingdom of the Netherlands urges for psychological recoveryprograms to be administered and conducted by individuals withprofessional expertise in mental evaluation counseling as well as formedical assistance for both short term and long term rehabilitationfor victims of violence. It is crucial that the issue is completelyunderstood by the public. In order to be done so, our country invitesall member states to establish awareness campaigns, include relevantissues in their education system and support Non GovernmentalOrganisations. The mass media can help spread awareness by informingpeople of the issue and by condemning discrimination and violence.
Ifall these are implemented globally, in a way that respects eachcountry’s culture, this thorny issue will be alleviated. As such, theNetherlands is looking forward to offering its support, in whateverform possible, to nations firmly committed to preventing violenceand discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.