C O N F I D E N T I A L THE HAGUE 001857
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/22/2008
TAGS: PHUM PREL IR BM CG ZI KN NL UNGA UNHRC UN
SUBJECT: DUTCH: SUMMARY OF EU THOUGHTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS
REF: A. SECSTATE 197183
Â¶B. SECSTATE 206381
Â¶C. 7/18 CARTER PERRY-WITMER-HUNT EMAILS (NOTAL)
Classified By: PolCouns Mary E. Daly Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d)
Â¶1. (C) Following delivery of HR reftels on July 21, MFA
Senior Policy Advisor for Human Rights, Hans Docter (protect
source), confirmed that the EU will introduce UNGA
resolutions on Burma and the DRC; a decision on Iran has been
postponed until early September, but appears likely. Docter
also shared EU concerns on Guantanamo, U.S.-EU relations on
HR issues, and EU thinking on the reform of UN human rights
system. He also recommended holding high-level U.S.-EU
consultations on human rights.
UNGA - Iran, Burma, DRC, Zimbabwe, North Korea
Â¶2. (C) The EU recently agreed internally to wait until early
September to make a final decision on an Iran resolution.
The Dutch strongly favor a resolution, and Docter commented
that there is much greater support for one this year than
last year. Barring any major improvement in the human rights
situation between now and September, Docter is "fairly
confident" that the EU will introduce a resolution on Iran.
The EU will introduce resolutions on Burma and the DRC. The
Dutch would also like to see an EU-sponsored resolution on
Zimbabwe, but internal disagreements, especially by the
French, remain. (Note: The Dutch appear willing, if the
U.S. agrees, to work with the U.S. in encouraging specific
African countries to introduce a Zimbabwe resolution. End
note.) Docter brought up the subject of North Korea, noting
that the EU is waiting and watching to see what the US and
Japan will do.
Â¶3. (C) Docter broached the situation in Guantanamo, stating
that the EU remains concerned over the lack of information
about the status of the prisoners. (Note: The MFA
highlights this topic in every discussion involving human
rights. The issue remains popular in the Dutch press and
with members of Parliament. End Note.) While the Dutch are
not calling into question the treatment of the prisoners, the
GoNL shares EU concerns about prisoner access to due process,
the possibility of closed trials, and the death penalty.
Docter opined that if the U.S. agreed to exclude the
possibility of a death penalty sentence, EU interest and
concerns would greatly decrease.
EU: U.S. Needs To Do More
Â¶4. (C) In an informal meeting of EU human rights advisors on
July 19 in Venice, Docter stated there was obvious resentment
of the U.S. Many EU member states are of the opinion that
the U.S. pressures Europe into taking on "the major HR
issues," but later "takes all the credit" for hard-fought EU
successes. At the same time, the U.S. does not adequately
support issues of importance to the EU. The Dutch disagree
with this assessment. Nevertheless, Docter commented that if
the U.S. were more supportive of the EU on, for example,
Turkmenistan and Chechnya, such EU resentment would likely
diminish. Docter also suggested the U.S. approach the EU
Presidency to propose high-level U.S.-EU human rights talks.
U.S. officials might then also visit influential EU capitals,
as occurred in preparation for last year's UNCHR.
Reform of UN Human Rights System
Â¶5. (C) Docter said the EU is looking at ways in which to
reform how the UN approaches human rights. No decisions have
been made to date. However, discussion includes doing away
with the UNCHR, leaving the third committee in charge of
dealing with HR issues. The EU is also internally assessing
how the UN could increase cooperation and the operational
effectiveness of UN agencies already dealing with aspects of
human rights. (Note: The Dutch will serve on the next UNCHR.