The Dutch embassy in Costa Rica has won the first edition of the Human Rights Prize for Dutch Embassies. This biennial prize is awarded by NIMD, together with 17 other Dutch human rights and development organizations to the Dutch embassy that has been most proactive, concrete and effective in defending and promoting human rights. On 17 June, Christine Pirenne, Ambassador to Costa Rica, received the prize during an award ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague.
Why this prize?
Time is running out for human rights. Worldwide, human rights are under attack. Those who stand up for human rights are confronted with unprecedented persecution, intimidation and violence, both physically and digitally.
In this context, the role of embassies is more important than ever. Embassies should, as required by EU guidelines, proactively support human rights defenders and civil society, and promote human rights, both through the projects they support and through their diplomatic work. The Human Rights Prize is a token of appreciation for the embassy that has done this in a relevant way in the past two years.
Winner: Embassy Costa Rica
The winning embassy is based in Costa Rica, but is also active in Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. The Embassy is an active and visible advocate of human rights in Central America, despite the sometimes dangerous context.
Our country offices in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have the opportunity to work closely with the winning Embassy as we strive for more inclusive societies in these countries. Our Country Directors in Central America all highlight the respectful and inclusive approach of the Embassy, and Ambassador’s deep commitment to standing up for human rights.
Juan Meléndez, NIMD El Salvador Director says “The Costa Rica Embassy does a lot to promote the defense of women’s rights, especially sexual and reproductive rights. It also works with the youth, to help them support human rights in all senses, including social, economic, cultural, environmental and civil rights. The work it does to preserve the collective memory is also so important – the Embassy seeks justice as a guarantee that history will not be repeated.”
Music credits: High Life, The Mini Vandals featuring Mamadou Koita and Lasso
Runners up: Poland and Hungary
The Dutch embassies in Poland and Hungary come in at a shared second place. In both countries, human rights and the rule of law are increasingly undermined. Amid the growing challenges, the embassies provide valuable support to local civil society and continue to work to keep the rule of law and human rights on the agenda.
‘Freedom, democracy and respect for human rights cannot be taken for granted, as the war in Ukraine has shown. To protect these values, democratic countries like the Netherlands must invest in human rights and democracy worldwide, including in and around Europe. Dutch embassies, such as those in Hungary and Poland, play an important role in this.’ Ruth Kronenburg, jury President and director of Free Press Unlimited.
The Human Rights Prize for Dutch Embassies is awarded by NIMD. ActionAid, Amnesty International Netherlands, Arisa, COC Netherlands, Cordaid, Defence for Children-ECPAT, Free Press Unlimited, Hivos, International Campaign for Tibet, IUCN NL, Justice and Peace, Lawyers for Lawyers, Netherlands Helsinki Comittee, Nederlands Juristen Comité voor de Mensenrechten, Oxfam Novib, Peace Brigades International and PAX.