‘The Netherlands is a tax haven for firms which infringe human rights’

The Netherlands is a tax haven for companies which are involved in human rights violations, according to new research by multinational research centre SOMO.

The organisation looked at the relationship between Dutch tax and investment policy aimed at attracting international businesses to the Netherlands, and its official policy on human rights.

The SOMO report focused on eight large multinational mining companies which are based in the Netherlands, all of which are associated with serious human rights violations abroad.

These range from ‘environmental pollution to militia violence, murder and displacement’, the organisation said.

Head office

Oil company Pluspetrol, for example, has its head office officially in the Netherlands.

‘After decades of oil spills … the Peruvian government has declared an environmental state of emergency in the region in which Pluspetrol has operations, because of high levels of barium, lead, chrome and petroleum-related compounds,’ the report said.

In terms of international human rights obligations, the Dutch government fails – and shows no political will – to effectively regulate international businesses incorporated in its jurisdiction, SOMO says, adding that ‘corporations found to violate human rights abroad should not enjoy Dutch fiscal and investment benefits.’

The voluntary nature of corporate social responsiblity and the importance of corporate self-regulation is also an ‘outdated and clearly insufficient’ approach, SOMO said.

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