Human rights orgs. criticize Netherlands' response to threats against lawyer

Lady Justice (Picture: Twitter/@danvelton). (Lady Justice (Picture: Twitter/@danvelton))

Amnesty International, the federation of human rights organizations FIDH, the Dutch lawyers committee for human rights and the Coalition for the International Criminal Court all feel that the Dutch authorities are not vigilant enough to threats against human rights defenders, NRC reports.

This is in response to the Dutch authorities' reaction to threats made against human rights lawyer Nada Kiswanson for her work with the ICC in The Hague, which is currently doing a pre-investigation into possible Israeli war crimes in Palestine. The lawyer started receiving death threats in February.

According to NRC, the police sent Kiswanson away when she first came to report the threats. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also responded slowly - it took Minister Bert Koenders two months to respond to a report about the threats from FIDH, which was sent in March. Koenders sent a letter back, calling the threats "unacceptable".

The ICC wants concrete measures taken to ensure the safety of its employees. Amnesty International wants Koenders to at least publicly denounce the threats. All parties are calling for extra vigilance and a the establishment of a hotline where human rights defenders can report threats against them.