Max van der Stoel Award

Max van der Stoel

Who was Max van der Stoel?

Max van der Stoel (3 August 1924 - 23 April 2011) was a Dutch statesman who had a long and distinguished career.

He was appointed as the first OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities in 1992 and served eight and a half years in the post.

He was twice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands (1973-1977 and 1981-1982) and held seats in both the upper and lower houses of the Dutch Parliament. He was a member of the European Parliament (1971-1973) and twice a member of the North Atlantic Assembly (1968-1973 and 1978-1981) as well as a Member of the Council of Europe Consultative Assembly and a member of the Western European Union Assembly between 1967 and 1972. He served as Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations between 1983 and 1986, and in 1992 he was appointed by the UN Commission on Human Rights as Special Rapporteur on Iraq.

Max van der Stoel became familiar with the work of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (now the OSCE) as Foreign Minister during the Helsinki consultations from 1973 to 1975, as Chairman of the Netherlands Helsinki Committee for several years, and as the Netherlands head of delegation during the CSCE conferences on the human dimension in Paris, Copenhagen and Moscow. In December 1992, he was appointed as the first HCNM, taking up his duties in January 1993. After two renewals of his mandate as HCNM, he was succeeded by Swedish diplomat Rolf Ekéus in July 2001.

In 1999, van der Stoel was awarded the House Order of the Golden Lion of Nassau; the first citizen of the Netherlands to receive the award since 1919. He was also appointed Chairman of the Working Table on Democratisation and Human Rights for the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe in the same year. Several honorary doctorates were awarded to him, including the Cleveringa Chair at Leiden University. Aside from the 50,000 EUR Max van der Stoel Award, also named in his honour are the Foundation Max van der Stoel and the Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award at the University of Tilburg.

`He could never compromise when it came to injustice, nor in his belief in the law, in fairness and in the future of humanity if it could free itself from the chains of injustice and oppression´ Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans about Max van der Stoel, 2011.

More information

The first High Commissioner
Max van der Stoel (Wikipedia)
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