Advancing Freedom Through International Partnerships
Democratic participation in society, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom of expression and access to economic opportunity are fundamental pillars of a dignified life. However, they are denied to hundreds of millions of people across the globe. The Netherlands prioritizes solutions-oriented partnerships that bring rights to those who are denied them.
Together with the United States and other members of the global community, we advocate for and establish the conditions needed for the respect of democracy and basic human rights in some of the world’s most challenging environments. We are strongly encouraged by the United States’ increasing commitment to multilateral action to solve these pressing problems.
- In places such as Belarus, Yemen and the Sudan, Dutch development and democracy assistance programs operate where U.S. programs are not always able to do so. The Netherlands brings an innovative, grassroots approach and empowers civil society in a number of countries, particularly in the former Soviet bloc.
- Since 1994, the Netherlands promoted security, cooperation and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe through the “Matra Program.” Derived from the Dutch word for social transformation, 'maatschappelijke transformatie,' the program supports the transformation to a plural, democratic society governed by the rule of law. For example, the Netherlands has been engaged in democracy assistance efforts in Belarus, “Europe’s last dictatorship,” for the past 15 years.
- The Netherlands recently initiated a pilot program designed to promote religious freedom, which will expand current efforts underway in Egypt, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, India and China.
- The Center for Global Development consistently ranks the Netherlands’ development assistance as some of the most effective in the world. As a key ally, the Dutch share these best practices with the United States, helping both countries’ efforts to be more successful.