(Part of the Kingdom of Netherlands)
Joined United Nations: 10 December 1945
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 29 January 2013
145,834 (January 2010 est.)
Prime Minister since 31 December 2012
The Monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the
monarch for a six-year term;
Next scheduled election: None
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
Following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is
usually elected prime minister by the Staten; election last held 19
Next scheduled election: 2016
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Mixed black 85%, other 15% (includes Carib Amerindian, white, East Asian)
Roman Catholic 80.1%, Protestant 5.5%, none 4.6%, Pentecostal 3.5%, Seventh Day Adventist 2.2%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.7%, Jewish
0.8%, other 1.3%, not reported 0.3% (2001 census)
Constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs granted in 2010; Dutch Government
responsible for defense and foreign affairs; Legal system is based on Dutch civil law system with some English common law influence
Executive: The monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the
majority party is usually elected prime minister by the parliament
Legislative: unicameral parliament or Staten (21 seats; members elected by popular vote for four year terms) elections: last held 19
October 2012 (next to be held in 2016)
Judicial: Common Court of Justice, Joint High Court of Justice (judges appointed by the monarch)
Papiamento 81.2% (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect), Dutch 8% (official), Spanish 4%, English 2.9%, other 3.9%
The island of Curaçao was first settled by the Arawaks, an Amerindian people native to the area. They are believed to have
inhabited the island for many hundreds of years before the arrival of Europeans. European presence began around the year 1500,
when groups were sent out to extensively map the borders of South America and the surrounding islands. Spanish interest quickly
waned, however, as they discovered that there was no gold on the island and farming was difficult because of a lack of fresh water.
By 1634, the government-backed Dutch West India Company had claimed Curaçao for its own and had begun to settle the island
in earnest. Plantations were erected, and farmers began growing corn and peanuts in addition to native fruits. The saltwater ponds
that prevented irrigation would soon prove themselves invaluable, as the economy of the island shifted to salt mining and
international export. But saline ponds were not the only advantageous geographical features to be found here. The deep water and
natural barriers surrounding the island’s ports made them popular with Caribbean traders. The capital city of Willemstad became
particularly well-known, as it played host to merchant ships under every flag imaginable. The Sephardic Jews who arrived from the
Netherlands and then-Dutch Brazil since the 17th century have had a significant influence on the culture and economy of the island.
Curaçao is home to the oldest active Jewish congregation in the Americas, dating to 1651. The Jewish Community of Curaçao also
played a key role in supporting early Jewish congregations in the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries. The years before and
after World War II also saw an influx of Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe, many of whom were Romanian Jews. For much of
the 17th and 18th centuries, the primary business of the island was the slave trade. Slaves arrived often from Africa and were
bought and sold on the docks in Willemstad before continuing on to their ultimate destination. The slaves that remained on the island
were responsible for working the plantations established earlier. This influx of inexpensive manpower made the labor-intensive
agricultural sector far more profitable and between the Netherlands and China the trading done on the docks and the work being
done in the fields, the economic profile of Curaçao began to climb, this time built on the backs of the slaves. When the institution
was abolished in 1863, the island’s economy was severely crippled. The defeat of the Dutch in the Napoleanic Wars caused
Curaçao to be conquered by the British Empire from 1800 to 1803, and again from 1807 to 1816, after which it was handed back
to the Dutch due to the Treaty of Paris. When oil was discovered in 1920, a new chapter began in the history of Curaçao. Suddenly
wealthy, the country experienced a large number of people immigrating from South America and other countries in the Caribbean.
This added new life to the cultural composition of the island, an aspect which has only enhanced the local tourism industry. In 1929
a troop of Venezuelan rebels seized the Waterfort in Willemstad The Netherlands Antilles were colonized by the Netherlands in the
17th century. They were once the center of the Caribbean slave trade. The island of Curaçao was hit hard by the abolition of
slavery in 1863. Its prosperity (and that of neighboring Aruba) was restored in the early 20th century with the construction of oil
refineries to service the newly discovered Venezuelan oil fields. The island of Saint Martin is shared with France (whose northern
portion is named Saint-Martin and was a part of Guadeloupe, though there have been movements to become a separate overseas
territory). The Netherlands Antilles remain part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In 1954, the status of islands was promoted
from that of a colonial territory to part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as an associated state within a federacy. The island of
Aruba was part of the Netherlands Antilles until 1986, when it was granted status aparte (i.e. it became a self-governing part of the
Kingdom of the Netherlands). Between June 2000 and April 2005, each island of the Netherlands Antilles had referendums on their
future status. The four options that could be voted on were: 1) closer ties with the Netherlands, 2) remaining within the Netherlands
Antilles, 3) Autonomy as a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands (status aparte) and, 4) independence. Of the islands, Sint
Maarten and Curaçao voted for status aparte. Saba and Bonaire voted for closer ties to the Netherlands. Sint Eustatius was the
only island to vote to stay in the Netherlands Antilles. On October 12, 2006, the Netherlands reached an agreement with Saba,
Bonaire, and Sint Eustatius; this agreement would make these islands special municipalities. On November 3, 2006, Curaçao and
Sint Maarten were granted autonomy in an agreement, but this agreement was rejected by Curaçao on November 28.The Curaçao
government was not sufficiently convinced that the agreement would provide enough autonomy for Curaçao. On July 9, 2007
Curaçao approved the agreement it had rejected in November 2006. On February 12, 2007, an agreement was signed between
the Netherlands and every island except Curaçao. This agreement would end the Netherlands Antilles by December 15, 2008 and
make 1 billion guilders available for debt relief, social development and poverty reduction. A nonbinding referendum on this plan
took place in Curaçao on 15 May 2009, in which 52 percent of the voters supported these plans. Dissolution of the Netherlands
Antilles was effected on 10 October 2010. Curaçao is now a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with the Kingdom
retaining responsibility for defence and foreign policy. The Kingdom will also oversee the island's finances under a debt-relief
arrangement agreed on between the two. Curaçao's first Prime Minister was Gerrit Schotte. He was succeeded in 2012 by Stanley
Betrian, ad interim. After elections in 2012 Daniel Hodge became the third prime minister on 31 December 2012.
Source: Wikipedia: History of Curacao
Tourism, petroleum refining, and offshore finance are the mainstays of this small economy, which is closely tied to the outside world.
Although GDP grew slightly during the past decade, the island enjoys a high per capita income and a well-developed infrastructure
compared with other countries in the region. Curacao has an excellent natural harbor that can accommodate large oil tankers. The
Venezuelan state oil company leases the single refinery on the island from the government; most of the oil for the refinery is imported
from Venezuela; most of the refined products are exported to the US. Almost all consumer and capital goods are imported, with the
US, Brazil, Italy, and Mexico being the major suppliers. The government is attempting to diversify its industry and trade and has
signed an Association Agreement with the EU to expand business there. Poor soils and inadequate water supplies hamper the
development of agriculture. Budgetary problems complicate reform of the health and pension systems for an aging population.
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Netherlands Antilles)
Curaçao gained self-government on 1 January 1954 as an island territory of the Netherlands Antilles. Despite this, the islanders did
not fully participate in the political process until after the social movements of the late '60s. In the 2000s the political status of the
island has been under discussion again, as for the other islands of the Netherlands Antilles, regarding the relationship with the
Netherlands and between the islands of the Antilles.
In a referendum held on 8 April 2005, the residents voted for a separate status outside the Netherlands Antilles, like Aruba,
rejecting the options for full independence, becoming part of the Netherlands, or retaining the status quo. In 2006, Emily de
Jongh-Elhage, a resident of Curaçao, was elected as the new prime minister of the Netherlands Antilles, and not Curaçao. On 1
July 2007, the island of Curaçao was due to become a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On 28 November 2006, the
island council rejected a clarificatory memorandum on the process. On 9 July 2007 the new island council of Curaçao approved the
agreement previously rejected in November 2006. On 15 December 2008, Curaçao was scheduled to become a separate country
within the Kingdom of the Netherlands (like Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles are now). A nonbinding referendum on this plan
took place in Curaçao on 15 May 2009, in which 52 percent of the voters supported these plans.
Dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles was effected on 10 October 2010. Curaçao is now a country within the Kingdom of the
Netherlands, with the Kingdom retaining responsibility for defence and foreign policy. The Kingdom will also oversee the island's
finances under a debt-relief arrangement agreed on between the two. Curaçao's first Prime Minister was Gerrit Schotte. He was
succeeded in 2012 by Stanley Betrian, ad interim. After elections in 2012 Daniel Hodge became the third prime minister on 31
December 2012. Recent political debate has centered on the issue of Papiamentu becoming the sole language of instruction.
Proponents argue that it will help preserve the language and will improve the quality of primary and secondary school education.
Proponents of Dutch-language instruction argue that students who study in Dutch will be better prepared for the university education
offered to Curaçao residents in the Netherlands.
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of Curacao
Transshipment point for South American drugs bound for the US and Europe; money-laundering center
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|2011 Human Rights Report: Netherlands (includes Netherlands Antilles prior to dissolution)
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 25, 2012
The Kingdom of the Netherlands, which includes the Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao, and St. Maarten, is a constitutional monarchy. The
Netherlands (the term used to designate the European part of the kingdom and the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius)
has a bicameral parliament; a first chamber (the Senate) is elected by the country’s 12 provincial councils and a second chamber (the
House of Representatives) by popular vote. A prime minister and a cabinet representing the governing political parties exercise executive
authority. General elections held in June 2010 were free and fair. Aruba, Curacao, and St. Maarten have unicameral parliamentary
systems and are largely autonomous, except in foreign policy and defense. The Kingdom of the Netherlands is responsible for
safeguarding fundamental human rights and freedoms in its territories.
In a country with no widespread or systemic abuses, the most salient human rights problem was societal animosity toward certain ethnic
and religious groups, particularly Muslim immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East. In Aruba, Curacao, and St. Maarten, prison
conditions remained substandard in some respects.
In the Netherlands, authorities prosecuted individuals during the year for violations of a law prohibiting public speech that incites hatred
or discrimination, although there were no reported convictions. There were reports of violence against women and children, anti-Semitic
incidents, societal discrimination and violence against some religious and ethnic minorities, and trafficking in persons for sexual
exploitation and forced labor.
The government took steps to prosecute officials who committed abuses, and there were no indications that impunity existed
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5 February 2010
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
18 January-5 February 2010
Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
3. The Committee commends the State party for its high-level delegations headed by the Deputy Minister of Education, Culture and
Science of the Netherlands, the Minister of Public Health and Social Development of the Netherlands Antilles, the Minister of Economic,
Social and Cultural Affairs of Aruba and which included experts from different ministries and departments of the three parts of the
Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Committee expresses its appreciation for the constructive dialogue held between the delegations and
the members of the Committee.
7. The Committee welcomes the establishment of a Human Trafficking Task Force in 2008 in the Netherlands, the amendment of the
criminal code of Aruba in 2006 to put legislation on trafficking in line with international standards and the creation in 2004 of a working
group on trafficking in women in the Netherlands Antilles.
Principal areas of concern and recommendations
National machinery and gender mainstreaming
18. The Committee is concerned at the lack of a unified strategy and policy for the implementation of all provisions of the Convention
among the different parts of the Kingdom. While noting the existence of national machineries in the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, it
expresses concern that they are still anchored at a too low a governmental level. The Committee notes the efforts made by the State
party to improve coordination of the use of gender-mainstreaming strategy in policies and programmes among the ministries. It
expresses concern, however, that assessment of the gender impact of laws and policies and budget analysis in terms of gender remain
limited. The Committee also notes that a consistent policy for promoting equality in contractual arrangements in relation to public
procurement is lacking in the Netherlands.
19. The Committee calls for the development and enactment of a unified, comprehensive and overarching national strategy and policy for
the implementation of the Convention throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Committee also calls upon the Government of the
Netherlands Antilles on the occasion of the change in its constitutional status to upgrade its national machinery for the advancement of
women and to develop on its own a comprehensive gender-mainstreaming policy. The Committee further encourages the Netherlands to
continue the process of strengthening its national machinery for the advancement of women and to systematize assessment of the
gender impact of legislation and policies and gender budget analysis among the various ministries, as well as to provide an overview of
progress in its next report. The Committee further urges the Netherlands to introduce a consistent scheme for promoting equality in
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Freedom In The World 2007 Report
The center-right government resigned in June 2006 after an internal dispute involving the immigration minister and Somali-born Member
of Parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a collaborator of slain filmmaker Theo van Gogh. Early elections were held in November, and talks on a
new ruling coalition were ongoing at year’s end. Nine members of a radical Islamic terrorist cell known as the Hofstad group, which had
been linked to Van Gogh’s death, were convicted in March. Also in November, the Netherlands signed an agreement that would break up
the Netherlands Antilles in 2007, granting autonomy to the Caribbean islands of Curacao and St. Maarten and making three smaller
islands Dutch municipalities.
The Netherlands signed an agreement in November granting autonomy to the Caribbean territories of Curacao and St. Maarten. The
islands, which were part of the Netherlands Antilles at the time, would each be self-governing as of July 2007 except in the areas of
defense, law enforcement, and foreign policy. Meanwhile, the smaller islands in the Netherlands Antilles—Bonaire, Saba, and St.
Eustatius—were set to strengthen their Dutch ties by gaining the status of Netherlands municipalities.
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Netherlands: Protecting human rights at home: Amnesty International submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review, May-
28 November 2011
In this submission, prepared for the UN Universal Periodic Review of the Netherlands taking place May-June 2012, Amnesty
International comments on the implementation of recommendations the Netherlands supported during its previous UPR in 2008,
concerning the rights of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers, racial discrimination and human rights education.
As regards the Netherlands’ normative and institutional framework, Amnesty International notes that the Netherlands needs to formally
establish a national preventative mechanism for independent inspections of places of detention. Ratification of the Optional Protocol to the
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional
Protocol is still pending. Human rights perspectives are rarely included in policy making and a national action plan on human rights needs
to be more wide-ranging. There is a lack of effective engagement between government and civil society on human rights issues and
human rights education remains a matter of choice of individual schools. Amnesty International welcomes the establishment of a
National Human Rights Institution, but notes that it will lack litigation capacity for all human rights and is unlikely to be accessible in the
Caribbean parts of the Netherlands.
The high level of detention of irregular migrants and asylum-seekers continues to give rise to concern, as do proposals to criminalize
irregular entry and stay in the Netherlands.
NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTION
Amnesty International welcomes the fact that on 22 November 2011 the Dutch parliament approved a law for the establishment of a
National Human Rights Institution. Amnesty International regrets, however, that the institution will lack litigation capacity with regard to
all human rights violations10 and that most people living in the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands will not have access to
the National Human Rights Institution.11
11 Aruba has the status of a country within the Kingdom. Curacao and Saint Maarten are constituent countries within the
Kingdom. People living on these three Caribbean islands will not have access. People living on the other islands that are
designated as special municipalities within the European part of the Netherlands – i.e. Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba
– will have access.
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No Reports from Human Rights Watch mentioning Netherlands Antilles after exhaustive search of their database. Please
forward any information you may have regarding Human Rights Watch efforts on behalf of Netherlands Antilles to the Pax
Gaea World Report editor at the link below
Contact the editor »
Curacao's interim government bids farewell
Published on December 31, 2012
WILLEMSTAD, Curacao -- The interim government in Curacao met on Friday afternoon for the last time. Prime Minister Stanley
Betrian, Minister of Finance Dr Jose Jardim, Minister of Economic Development Cornelis Smits, Minister of Transportation,
Communication and Urban Planning Dominique Adriaens and Minister of Public Health, Environment and Labour Stanley Bodok each had
an opportunity to say farewell to the media.
The only one returning in the transitional government is Jardim as Minister of Finance. He was appointed by the independent Member of
Parliament Glenn Sulvaran (former member for PAR).
According to the outgoing prime minister, the interim government has fulfilled its duty and assignments given by former Governor of
Curacao Frits Goedgedrag. Those assignments were: prepare for the then upcoming Parliamentary elections (held on October 19, 2012),
restore democracy in Parliament, restore relations with the Netherlands, address the financial situation of the island and prepare measures
to screen each candidate minister after elections.
The interim government has also brought back peace and tranquility after some tumultuous times during the last months of the
government headed by former Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte. According to Schotte, there was a coup against his government. This
news brought international attention to Curacao and put the island in a negative light.
Betrian said, “We had to limit ourselves to the assignments given by the governor. We have a balanced budget for 2013. There is more to
do, but that’s up to the new government.”
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CURAÇAO: Second International Ombudsman Conference
The 2nd Curaçao International Ombudsman Conference, held from 4 to 8 June 2012 in Curaçao, is organized by the Office of the
Ombudsman of Curaçao and the Caribbean International University in cooperation with the Institute of Latin-American Ombudsman and
the Office of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Argentina, Province Santa Fé.
The leading motto of the conference will be “Investigative methods and techniques”, focusing on how to conduct investigations under
difficult and challenging circumstances. Main speakers of the conference are renowned ombudsman and experts in this field and include
members of the IOI such as Nilda Arduin (Ombudsman of St. Martin), Alex Brenninkmeijer (National Ombudsman of the Netherlands),
Arlene Brock (Ombudsman for Bermuda), Ontarion Ombudsman André Marin and the President of the National Human Rights
Commission, Raúl Plascencia Villanueva.
The conference will give ombudsmen the possibility to enter into a fruitful dialogue with colleagues and experts from the Caribbean &
Latin American Region as well as exchange ideas and experience with expected participants from Europe or Africa. For more details on
the conference, please consult the IOI Calendar of Events or contact Mr Radameh Da Costa Gomez, Executive Secretary of the
Ombudsman of Curaçao (email@example.com).
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To combat climate change. What is ‘Dutch’?
4 January 2013
In 1993, The Netherlands ratified the Climate Change Convention and, in 2002, the Kyoto Protocol. This information is obtained from
the United Nations (UN). In the 1990s, the Netherlands accepted the Montreal Protocol and the subsequent amendments. For clearness
sake, to accept or to ratify a protocol or convention is something different. Nevertheless, ratification and acceptance are not a free-ride
for a country, but an obligation to operate in accordance with the concerned protocol/convention. But what is the Netherlands?
According to the acceptance of the Montreal Protocol, the Antilles (Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Statia and St-Martin) and Aruba are included
(see the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)). Is the same applicable to the Kyoto Protocol and the Climate Change
Convention? If yes, that would be great. Because the Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol deal with reducing the emission
of greenhouse gasses and in particular carbon dioxide (CO2). Due to the operations of the Isla-refinery on Curaçao, the per capita CO2
emissions -31,9 tons CO2 per capita per year- are extremely huge on Curaçao, which is reported in 2012 by Inter Press Service (IPS)
and the US Department of Energy. With these 31,9 tons CO2, Curaçao is the number fourth on the world ranking with respect to CO2
emission per capita per year.
With this information and the ratification of the Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol by the Netherlands, SMOC would
like to know:
- Is the ratification of the Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol with or without the Caribbean part of the Dutch Kingdom
(thus the islands Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Statia and St-Martin)? If with;
- Are the countries, that ratified the Climate Change Convention and/or the Kyoto Protocol, familiar with the CO2 emissions on Curaçao?
- What are the opinions on this of the other countries?
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Beatrix of the Netherlands
Queen since 30 April 1980
Adele van der Pluijm-Vrede
Acting Governor since 24 October 2012
Crown Prince Willem-Alexander
Heir Apparent since 01 January 1980