Netherlands Embassy in Ireland visits NGO Front Line Defenders

Today, the 10th of December, is International Human Rights Day. The international community celebrates the 70th anniversary of the UN International Declaration of Human Rights. To mark this joyous occasion, the Netherlands Embassy in Ireland paid a visit to the head office of NGO Front Line Defenders in Dublin to thank them for their important work in support of human rights defenders worldwide.  Front Line Defenders will be presented with the 2018 UN Human Rights Prize at the General Assembly in New York on the 18th of December.

On the 10th of December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the International Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document in the history of human rights. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and serves as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations and it has been translated into over 500 languages.

Since 1968, the United Nations have awarded the Human Rights Prize. It provides an opportunity to give public recognition to the achievements of the recipients themselves. It also sends the clear message to human rights defenders all over the world that the international community is grateful for, and supports, their efforts to promote all human rights for all. Previous winners have included Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Denis Mukwege, Malala Yusafzai, Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Every five years, a special UN panel selects organisations and individuals that have made an outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of the human rights embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in other United Nations human rights instruments.

Chargé d'Affaires Roelof van Ees (left) and Andrew Anderson.

To mark this occasion, the Netherlands Embassy in Dublin visited the head office of Front Line Defenders in Blackrock, co. Dublin. We were warmly welcomed by Director Andrew Anderson and Head of Development Laurent Aldenhoff. Founder Mary Lawlor started Frontline Defenders in 2001 to support human rights defenders on the ground, backed by the 1998 UN Declaration of Human Rights Defenders. Front Line Defenders maintains its headquarters in Dublin, an EU Office in Brussels and regionally-based field staff in the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The NGO provides protection, training and resources to human rights defenders at risk all around the world.

Andrew Anderson said that human rights defenders take big risks reporting about serious human rights violations and explained that they often do not get the recognition they deserve. During our visit, it became clear to us that Mr. Anderson and his team are very passionate about their work in defense of human rights activists. We were happy to be briefed on Front Line Defenders’ work and congratulate the NGO for receiving this most prominent international recognition.