|United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees|
1 January 2001 – 20 February 2005
|Preceded by||Sadako Ogata|
|Succeeded by||António Guterres|
|Prime Minister of the Netherlands|
4 November 1982 – 22 August 1994
Gijs van Aardenne (1982–1986) |
Rudolf de Korte (1986–1989)
Wim Kok (1989–1994)
|Preceded by||Dries van Agt|
|Succeeded by||Wim Kok|
|Minister of Economic Affairs|
11 May 1973 – 19 December 1977
|Prime Minister||Joop den Uyl|
|Preceded by||Harrie Langman|
|Succeeded by||Gijs van Aardenne|
|Minister for Netherlands Antilles and Aruba Affairs|
27 May 1994 – 22 August 1994
|Preceded by||Ernst Hirsch Ballin|
|Succeeded by||Joris Voorhoeve|
7 November 1989 – 14 November 1989
|Preceded by||Jan de Koning|
|Succeeded by||Ernst Hirsch Ballin|
|Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal|
25 October 1982 – 29 January 1994
|Preceded by||Dries van Agt|
|Succeeded by||Elco Brinkman|
|Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal in the House of Representatives|
14 September 1989 – 7 November 1989
|Preceded by||Bert de Vries|
|Succeeded by||Elco Brinkman|
3 June 1986 – 14 July 1986
|Preceded by||Bert de Vries|
|Succeeded by||Bert de Vries|
24 August 1981 – 4 November 1982
|Preceded by||Dries van Agt|
|Succeeded by||Bert de Vries|
7 November 1978 – 10 June 1981
|Preceded by||Willem Aantjes|
|Succeeded by||Dries van Agt|
|Member of the House of Representatives|
14 September 1989 – 7 November 1989
3 June 1986 – 14 July 1986
22 December 1977 – 4 November 1982
8 June 1977 – 8 September 1977
Rudolphus Franciscus Marie Lubbers|
7 May 1939
14 February 2018 (aged 78)|
Christian Democratic Appeal |
Catholic People's Party |
Ria Hoogeweegen (m. 1962)
Erasmus University Rotterdam |
(Bachelor of Economics, Master of Economics)
|Occupation||Politician · diplomat · economist · businessman|
|Awards||Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion|
|Service/branch||Royal Netherlands Air Force|
|Years of service||
Rudolphus Franciscus Marie "Ruud" Lubbers (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈryt ˈlʏbərs] ( listen); 7 May 1939 – 14 February 2018) was a Dutch politician and diplomat of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 4 November 1982 until 22 August 1994.
Lubbers was a member of the board of directors of Hollandia Corporate for 10 years before being asked to be the Minister of Economic Affairs in the cabinet of Joop den Uyl; he took office on 11 May 1973. After the 1977 election, he was elected as Member of the House of Representatives, serving from 8 June 1977 until 8 September 1977 and again from 22 December 1977 until 4 November 1982. On 7 November 1978, Lubbers was selected to serve as parliamentary leader for the Christian Democratic Appeal, serving from 7 November 1978 until 10 June 1981 and again from 24 August 1981 until 4 November 1982. After the 1982 election, Prime Minister Dries van Agt unexpectedly announced his retirement from national politics and stood down as Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal on 13 October 1982, with Lubbers elected to succeed him on 25 October 1982, becoming the youngest Prime Minister in Dutch history.
The First Lubbers cabinet was formed by a coalition with the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), with Lubbers taking office as Prime Minister on 4 November 1982. With the following 1986 election, Lubbers, as lijsttrekker (top candidate), won nine more seats, the coalition retained its majority, and a cabinet formation resulted in a continuation of the policies with the Second Lubbers cabinet. For the 1989 election, Lubbers, once more as Lijsttrekker, won the same number of seats as the previous election, and a coalition formation with the Labour Party (PvdA) was formed that resulted in the Third Lubbers cabinet. On 29 January 1994, Lubbers announced his retirement from national politics and resigned as Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal. Lubbers remained Prime Minister until the First Kok cabinet was installed on 22 August 1994; he had served for nearly 12 years.
After his premiership, Lubbers semi-retired from active politics and served as a visiting professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Tilburg University from 1995 until 2001. Lubbers served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 1 January 2001 until 20 February 2005, and finally retired from active politics at the age of sixty-five. Following the end of his active political career, Lubbers occupied numerous seats on supervisory boards on international non-governmental organizations (World Wide Fund for Nature, Earth Charter Initiative, Club of Rome, Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands).
Lubbers was known for his abilities as a team leader and consensus builder. During his premiership, his cabinets were responsible for rebuilding the Dutch economy after the recession in the 1980s, stimulating sustainable development, reforming social security, and reducing the deficit. Lubbers was also active as a conservation and humanitarian activist and as an advocate in promoting sustainable development. He continued to comment on political affairs as a statesman. On 31 January 1995, he was granted the honorary title of Minister of State. He remains the youngest and longest-serving Prime Minister of the Netherlands.
Rudolphus Franciscus Marie Lubbers was born on 7 May 1939 in Rotterdam in the Province of South Holland. He studied economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, and was a student of the first Nobel Prize in Economics laureate Jan Tinbergen. As suggested by the title of his 1962 thesis – "The influence of differing productivity trends in various countries on the current account of the balance of payments" – his main interest was in monetary affairs. He originally planned an academic career, but was compelled by family circumstances to join the management of Lubbers's Construction Workshops and Machinery Fabricators Hollandia B.V.
From 11 May 1973 to 19 December 1977, Ruud Lubbers was Minister of Economic Affairs in the Den Uyl-government and a member of the Catholic People's Party (KVP). He was an effective, if sometimes somewhat bad-tempered minister. He chose to return to Parliament on the formation of the Van Agt-government in 1977, becoming senior deputy parliamentary leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), the alliance between the KVP and the other two main Christian parties. His career got an unexpected boost when the leader of the parliamentary faction of the CDA, Willem Aantjes, had to resign in 1978 because accusations that he had served in the Germanic-SS during the Second World War. Lubbers succeeded him and suddenly found himself in a powerful political position.
In 1982, after the general election won by Prime Minister Dries van Agt, a similar thing happened when Van Agt suddenly announced he would not serve for a third term. Lubbers took over the post. He was the youngest prime minister in Dutch history; he had turned 43 only six months earlier. Major aspects of his time in office included extensive cutbacks in public spending, the launch of far-reaching deregulation and privatisation programs, and a massive demonstration in The Hague (1983) against the planned installation in the Netherlands of nuclear-armed U.S. cruise missiles (which was cancelled after all due to arms reduction talks between the US and the Soviet Union).
After leaving office in 1994, Lubbers was put forward as a candidate for the head of NATO, but the U.S. vetoed his appointment. He was on the advisory board of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF), where he was regularly involved in meetings regarding the financial and monetary system.
Lubbers was regarded by many during his time in office as an ideological heir to Margaret Thatcher. One of his campaign slogans was: "Meer markt, minder overheid" (more market, less government).
In the follow-up of the Earth Summit in 1992, Lubbers engaged with the Earth Charter Initiative in cooperation with Mikhail Gorbachev and Maurice Strong. The Earth Charter document was launched in the Peace Palace in The Hague in June 2000. Lubbers was an active member of the international Earth Charter Commission and reached out, especially to youth in the Netherland, with the message of the Earth Charter for a sustainable and peaceful world.
From 1995 to 2000, he taught Globalization Studies at Tilburg University in the Netherlands and at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in the United States. He was also vice-chairman of the Independent World Commission on the Oceans and chair of Globus, the Institute for Globalization and Development based in Tilburg.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees
From 1 January 2001, Lubbers headed the UNHCR, which comprised over 5,000 employees who work across the globe, and which was concerned with an estimated 21 million refugees and internally displaced in over 120 countries worldwide. During his tenure, the number of refugees worldwide decreased by almost 22%, from 21.8 million in 2001 to close to 17.1 million at the beginning of 2004.
Lubbers also favoured a generous refugee policy for the Netherlands, and he was critical of the Foreign Citizens Law (Vreemdelingenwet). He also stabilised the UNHCR's financial situation and greatly increased the financial means for the sheltering of refugees.
He annually donated some $300,000 to the refugee agency since he assumed his post in 2001, thereby covering his own $167,000 annual salary and travel expenses.
Sexual harassment complaint
In May 2004, Lubbers was accused by Cynthia Brzak, an American UNHCR employee, of sexual harassment following a meeting in his office that was attended by two other UNHCR staff members. The complaint was reported in the media, prompting Lubbers to inform UNHCR staff about the accusation. On this occasion, he denied any wrongdoing and rejected the allegation against him. On 2 June 2004, the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), which was tasked with investigating the accusation, sent its report to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In its public annual report to the UN Secretary-General (presented to the UN General Assembly), the OIOS reported concerning the case that it had "submitted a report to the Secretary-General supporting the allegations and recommended that appropriate actions be taken accordingly."
Lubbers responded to the OIOS report in a letter setting out to (a) deny acts of sexual harassment or abuse took place; (b) establish that such evidence of the alleged misconduct as is said to exist is insufficient and flawed; and (c) conclude that the report itself would appear to be based on an irregular statutory basis and also flawed by errors of law and reasoning."
Lubbers asked Max van der Stoel, former High Commissioner on National Minorities, to comment on the confidential report. He concluded that "the OIOS report is deficient in objectivity and impartiality." He added "that the only two other persons in the room did not provide evidence confirming the version given by the complainant." Furthermore, he accused UN officials of leaking information to the press and recommended that an investigation of the leaks be undertaken.
The Secretary-General reviewed the report and the responses of the High Commissioner and the senior manager to the report, and decided that the complaint could not be substantiated by the evidence and therefore closed the matter." He is also reported to have consulted with Stephen Schwebel, an American judge and former President of the International Court of Justice. The Secretary-General failed to order an investigation of the deliberate leaking by OIOS itself to the media as recommended by Max van der Stoel.
In February 2005, the case was in the news again when the British daily newspaper The Independent obtained a copy of the OIOS report and, accompanied by an article by Kate Holt, published its contents. Among other things, the report stated that:
the allegation against Lubbers is substantiated in that Lubbers did engage in unwanted physical contact with the complainant, a subordinate female staff member. New allegations that came to OIOS's attention during the investigation, were also examined and indicate a pattern of sexual harassment by Lubbers, OIOS is also of the view that Lubbers abused his authority as High Commissioner by his intense, pervasive and intimidating attempts to influence the outcome of this Investigation.
Lubbers met with the Secretary-General on 18 February 2005, and resigned as High Commissioner on Sunday, 20 February 2005, stating to the press: "For more than four years I gave all my energy to UNHCR. To be frank, despite all my loyalty, insult has now been added to injury and therefore I resign as High Commissioner." The Secretary-General's office issued a statement the same day which stated that the High Commissioner's resignation was in the best interests of the UNHCR. In his letter of resignation, Lubbers stated that his resignation constituted no expression of guilt, but that he had become the victim of smearing, adding that he had resigned "in the interest of the organisation". In October 2005, Annan reiterated that he had come to the conclusion that "the evidence did not support the accusation" but that, because of ongoing media-pressure, Lubber's resignation was in the best interests of the UNHCR. In a letter to UNHCR staff, Annan wrote: "My decision to accept his resignation should not be interpreted as a finding of guilt".
During a farewell meeting for Lubbers as High Commissioner for Refugees, he received from Acting High Commissioner Wendy Chamberlin the first annual UNHCR Achievement Award for exceptional services to UNHCR and for the world's refugees.
Handling of the UNHCR/SC-UK 2002 report on sexual exploitation in the aid sector in West Africa
Three years prior to the controversy over the sexual harassment case, Ruud Lubbers was criticised for his mis-handling of the UNHCR/SC-UK 2002 which uncovered the widespread sexual exploitation of refugee children by aid workers and peacekeepers in three West African countries (Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone). The study team which had encountered these findings unexpectedly whilst conducting a broader assessment documented 67 allegations implicating 40 aid agencies and several peacekeeping battalions, and often involving humanitarian workers and peacekeepers exchanging meagre aid supplies (biscuits, soap, plastic sheeting) for sex with children. Ruud Lubbers's response was to deny these findings, discredit the authors and excuse these behaviours; for example in a CNN interview on 8 May 2002, Lubbers's was heard to deny the problem in the face of CNN's own research which confirmed the problem existed and was taken to task by the interviewer for dismissing these exploitative relationships inter alia as 'romances'. He was roundly criticised by his own staff for that interview.  Despite repeated attempts by Lubbers to lead a negative campaign against the report, the international community and governments in particular, took the allegations seriously and passed a UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/57/306, 'Investigation into sexual exploitation of refugees by aid workers in West Africa' in May 2003, requiring the UN to take action at the highest level to tackle such abuses.  This led to the UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin, 'Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse' in October 2003,  and an endorsement of the Inter-agency standing Committee's working group on sexual abuse and exploitation which had already been set up a year earlier in June 2002 in response to the report.
For the 2010 Dutch cabinet formation, after coalition meetings between People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, Labour Party, Democrats 66, and GreenLeft failed to form a new Purple government, Lubbers was asked again to become Informateur tho seek possibilities for a new coalition.
Personal life and death
Lubbers died in Rotterdam on 14 February 2018, at the age of 78. Among the world leaders who offered condolences were former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, Prime Minister of Russia and former President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, Secretary-General of the United Nations and former Prime Minister of Portugal and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and President of the European Commission and former Prime Ministers of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker. His ceremonial funeral was held on 20 February 2018.
|Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion||Netherlands||8 October 1994||Elevated from Knight |
|Honorary citizen of Maastricht||Netherlands||1994|
|Four Freedoms Award (Special Presentation)||United States / Netherlands||3 April 1995|
|Van Oldenbarneveltpenning of Rotterdam||Netherlands||2003|
|University||Field||City / Country||Date|
|University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro||Political science and Economics||Vila Real, Portugal||1989|
|Georgetown University||Law||Washington, D.C., United States||1993|
|Hankuk University of Foreign Studies||Political science||Seoul, South-Korea||1993|
|Grand Valley State University||Political science||Allendale, Michigan, United States||1994|
|Radboud University Nijmegen||Economics||Nijmegen, Netherlands||6 September 2004|
- "Longest-serving Dutch prime minister Ruud Lubbers dies". Agence France Presse. 15 February 2018.
- Colville, Rupert (24 February 2004). "Lubbers welcomes drop in asylum numbers in industrialised countries". United Nations High Commission on Human Rights. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
- "General Assembly extends term of UN High Commissioner for Refugees". United Nations. 6 October 2003. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
- New York Times 18 May 2004[permanent dead link]
- Corder, Mike (14 February 2018). "Longest-serving Dutch premier, Ruud Lubbers, dies at 78". News & Observer. Archived from the original on 15 February 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
- OIOS Investigation report
- "Supreme Court Annex 1 p.35" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
- A/59/359* Report of the Office Internal Oversight Services to the UN General Assembly, p. 31[permanent dead link]
- Lubbers memo pp 2–4 Archived 2008-05-29 at the Wayback Machine. Lubbers Memo pp 5–8 Archived 2008-05-29 at the Wayback Machine.Lubbers Memo p 9 Archived 2008-05-29 at the Wayback Machine.
- Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General 2005-02-22
- van der Stoel memo p 1 (after Lubbers p. 9) Archived 2008-05-29 at the Wayback Machine.van der Stoel memo pp 2–4 Archived 2008-05-29 at the Wayback Machine.
- New York Times 2004-07-16
- de Guyter, Caroline; van de Roer, Robert (16 April 2005). "Het geheime dossier van Ruud Lubbers (The secret dossier of Ruud Lubbers)". NRC Handelsblad. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
- Independent 2005-02-18
- Higgins, Alexander G. (20 February 2005). "U.N. refugee chief resigns over sexual harassment scandal". Seattle Times. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
- Corder, Mike (14 February 2018). "Ruud Lubbers, long-serving Dutch prime minister who trimmed welfare state, dies at 78". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
- Washington Post 2005-02-21
- Resignation letter Archived 2008-05-29 at the Wayback Machine.
- Geneva Press Conference 2005-10-10[permanent dead link]
- NewsMax.com 2005-02-23 Archived 2011-10-01 at the Wayback Machine.
- UNHCR News 25 February 2005 High Commissioner Lubbers departs UNHCR Archived 31 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Balkenende: wrang dat Lubbers opstapt". De Volkskrant. 20 February 2005. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
- [UNHCR/SC-UK, "Note for implementing and operational partners – Sexual violence and exploitation – the experience of refugee children in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone”, February 2002, available on the UNHCR website: http://www.unhcr.org/uk/partners/partners/3c7cf89a4/note-implementing-operational-partners-unhcr-save-children-uk-sexual-violence.html and on the SC-UK: https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/content/dam/global/reports/health-and-nutrition/sexual_violence_and_exploitation_1.pdf]
- [CNN Interview with Jonathan Mann, 8 May 2002, http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0205/08/i_ins.01.html]
- ['The West Africa Sex scandal', HPN, https://odihpn.org/magazine/the-west-africa-sex-scandal/]
- [UN GA resolution A/RES/57/306 https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N02/561/73/PDF/N0256173.pdf?OpenElement]
- [UN Secretary General Bulletin on Special Measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/focal-points/documents-public/secretary-general-s-bulleting-special-measures-protection-sexual]
- [Inter-agency standing Committee working groups on sexual exploitation and abuse, https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/product-categories/protection-sexual-abuse-and-exploitation]
- du Pré, Raoul (3 July 2006). "Informateur Lubbers komt even meedenken". De Volkskrant. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
- (in Dutch) Koningin benoemt Lubbers tot informateur Archived 2010-07-23 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Longest-Serving Dutch Premier, Ruud Lubbers, Dies at 78". The New York Times. 14 February 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
- Ruud Lubbers, former Dutch prime minister, dies
- "Dear Lubbers' family members and Ruud's friends,". Mikhail Gorbachev. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- "Dmitry Medvedev expresses condolences to Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Mark Rutte on the death of former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers". The Russian Government. 17 February 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
- "Pressestatements von Bundeskanzlerin Merkel und dem niederländischen Premierminister Rutte". Bundeskanzleramt. 19 February 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
- "Secretary-General Extends Heartfelt Condolences on Death of Ruud Lubbers". United Nations. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- "News comment: Death of former UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers". United Nations. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- "Twitter". Jean-Claude Juncker. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- (in Dutch) Dr. R.F.M. (Ruud) Lubbers Parlement & Politiek
- (in Dutch) Drs. R.F.M. Lubbers Rijksoverheid
- (in Dutch) Kabinet-Lubbers I Rijksoverheid
- (in Dutch) Kabinet-Lubbers II Rijksoverheid
- (in Dutch) Kabinet-Lubbers III Rijksoverheid
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