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Dutch government critical of Guantanamo Bay prison violations

Respect for human rights a basic

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE – Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen plans, among other things, to express his country's dissatisfaction with the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba when visiting Washington, next month.

Verhagen will address its NATO ally, the U.S., in what he calls ”the strongest terms" about the way prisoners are kept at the Cuban base. The Dutch feel that the U.S. is violating human rights at the prison camp.

The minister reasons that the close ties of friendship between the Netherlands and the U.S. allows for such criticism. In a debate with the Second Chamber he said that because the Dutch share common values with the U.S., they can raise such matters with the Americans.

According to Verhagen, the fight against international terrorism can only be successful if respect for human rights is foundational. It is because the Dutch support the American’s fight fully, that they can tackle such issues with them. Verhagen promises that his tone will be as probing with his American colleague as with his colleague from Iran. The Second Chamber was satisfied with Verhagen's approach.

Verhagen refused to give the U.S. an ultimatum on the closure of Guantanamo Bay, as the centre-left D66 party proposed. The Netherlands also has an interest in the improvement of the institutions in Iraq, according to the minister.

Verhagen also reported he had a meeting with a representative of the Arab world, who argued there are justifications for terrorism. Verhagen said that there is no acceptable excuse for terrorism, but that we must work on removing the causes of radicalisation.