New report on Dutch government, business and human rights in authoritarian states

A new Amnesty International report, produced with the assistance of FairSquare, has found that the Dutch government has incentivized Dutch companies to do business in China, Saudi Arabia and Russia without ensuring human rights due diligence responsibilities are met.

In Trading at any Cost: Dutch government puts economic interests ahead of human rights, Amnesty finds that as part of its trade policies since 2011, the Dutch government provided extensive diplomatic and financial support to Dutch companies with planned activities in China, Saudi Arabia and Russia. It did so without adequately warning them of the high risks, and without sufficiently communicating heightened due diligence standards. In addition, the Dutch government set only vague and noncommittal human rights due diligence conditions for receiving government support. The Dutch government therefore failed in its duty to protect human rights.

As part of the report, Amnesty also assessed – with FairSquare’s assistance – the due diligence practice of a number of companies operating or formerly operating in sectors with heightened human rights risks: the tech sector in China and Russia, and the construction sector in Saudi Arabia. The risks call for heightened due diligence, yet Amnesty and FairSquare found that the quality of human rights due diligence by the companies was generally poor.