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Mira Woldberg

Dutch ambassador to New Zealand Mira Woldberg talks about the Dutch government’s commitment to promote and protect human rights internationally and its ongoing support of LGBTI rainbow events in New Zealand.

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In the interview conducted with Mira Woldberg, the ambassador of the Netherlands to New Zealand, by interviewer Gareth Watkins on February 26, 2020, in Wellington, the conversation immersed into the ambassador's diplomatic career, New Zealand's natural beauty, the Dutch government's commitment to human rights, particularly the rights of LGBTQI+ individuals, and the specific initiatives by the Dutch embassy in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Woldberg, who began their diplomatic career in 1998, has served in Jakarta, New York, and The Hague. They spoke fondly of their early impression of New Zealand, describing it as a beautiful and green country with stunning views from their office in Wellington. The ambassador emphasized the close work relations and shared values held with New Zealand diplomats in past postings, particularly concerning sustainable development, climate change, and human rights.

The interviewer probed into the motive for the Dutch embassy's active support for LGBTQI+ rights, to which Woldberg responded citing the Dutch government's longstanding policy that human rights form the core of its foreign policy. They divulged that supporting and protecting LGBTQI+ rights is a current high priority. For Woldberg, the commitment is also personal, having initiated their human rights advocacy with Amnesty International. Despite New Zealand's relatively positive situation regarding LGBTQI+ rights, Woldberg underscored the importance of continuous attention to the matter, as legal structures do not always prevent discrimination.

Woldberg also described the situation in the Pacific Islands, where LGBTQI+ rights need significant improvement, with the embassy working towards decriminalization and enhanced human rights protections. The ambassador discussed the culturally sensitive approach to promoting LGBTQI+ rights, supporting and empowering local communities instead of imposing a foreign agenda.

Responding to the question of backlash, Woldberg explained that there had been no direct resistance from Pacific Nations to the Netherlands' pro-LGBTQI+ stance, highlighting the Dutch government's multilateral efforts – including support for the UN Special Rapporteur on sexual orientation and gender identity, to promote LGBTQI+ rights at the international level.

Woldberg then shared details about Dutch embassy-organized events in support of New Zealand's LGBTQI+ community, such as film screenings, panel discussions, and participation in pride parades — events aimed at fostering dialogue, awareness, and solidarity around LGBTQI+ rights.

Significantly, the interview shifted to discuss the day of the Christchurch terror attacks, where Woldberg recounted the shock and solidarity experienced by the embassy and its people.

Woldberg closed by reiterating the importance of respect, acceptance, and public demonstrations of support for the LGBTQI+ community. Their commitment to inclusivity and solidarity was symbolized by their participation in pride parades, emphasizing that everyone should feel safe, respected, and free from discrimination.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:26th February 2020
Interviewer:Gareth Watkins
Location:Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Wellington
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (reference number to be confirmed).