By Janene Pieters on September 4, 2018
The usual procedure was deviated from in awarding the Human Rights Defender Tulip to the Jordanian prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Minister Stef Blokf of Foreign Affairs acknowledged to the Telegraaf.
Usually the Tulip – an award for supporting ‘courageous human rights defenders’ – is awarded after consultation with the public. Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, received the award on Monday without this public consultation. Blok opted to just award the Tulip in a ‘once-off, special edition’ to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, according to the newspaper.
There were international protests against Al Hussein receiving this prize, because of the way the man neglected whistleblowers who revealed that French peacekeepers in the Central African Republic raped children. The UN did not take up the issue with much enthusiasm and even worked against the whistleblowers, according to the newspaper. As the head of human rights at the UN, Al Hussein demanded the dismissal of whistleblower Anders Kompass. Independent investigations later vindicated Kompass. Al Hussein never apologized.
Coalition parties CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie demanded that Al Hussein apologize before he is awarded the Tulip. “Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has a good reputation, but if you award such a prestigious award to someone who is so bad about whistle blowing, you give the wrong signal”, D66 parliamentarian Sjoerd Sjoerdsma said. “Child abuse should never be covered up, especially if the perpetrators are UN soldiers. They have to protect the population.” He called on the Jordanian prince to apologize. “Then he can receive the prize without blemish, and then Blok can award it without scruples.”
“It is not up to the cabinet to ask Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to apologize about this specific matter”, Blok said in response to the parliamentarians demands.
An amount of 100 thousand euros is also attached to the Tulip. This also caused criticism, because the UN’s code of conduct prohibits the acceptance of money. Al Hussein said on Twitter that he will not accept the cash prize.