On Friday, Otti Thomas reported in the paper Amigoe that the Dutch government, also on behalf of Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten, has taken many measures since 2010 in the crusade against discrimination and racism in all four countries of the Kingdom. The recommendations of the UN-committee against racial discrimination are implemented partially, the government wrote in a report to the UN.
In 2010 the UN were concerned about the naturalization of non-western immigrants, discrimination on the labor market and segregation in the education. One of the recommendations of the UN was to finally present the long promised national action plan against racism to prevent the increasing polarization.
“The Dutch government finds it very important that all citizens have equal possibilities to develop themselves and be successful. (…) The Netherlands finds discrimination and racism unacceptable”, the Dutch government stated.
The report on discrimination in the Kingdom also contains detailed information on the situation on Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten. With regard to Curaçao the controversial 80/20-regulation is mentioned, which compels companies to employee 80 percent local workers of its work force. In the report a comparison is drawn with the return-regulation for citizens from Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten who live in the Netherlands. “The discussion on both is whether there’s a question of discrimination.” A final proposal for the 80/20-regulation remains forthcoming. The report further mentions that Curaçao doesn’t have a specific anti-discrimination legislation but there’s the possibility to institute legal proceedings or lodge complaints with the Ombudsman. St. Maarten and Aruba have anti-discrimination legislation.
The report explicitly mentions that the Netherlands has ratified most of the international treaties against discrimination, with the exception of a treaty for foreign employees and their families. “The Netherlands has an objection to that part of the treaty that equal provisions are to be made available for migrants without a legal residence status and/or legal employment. They don’t pay any tax or contributions with which social services are paid and moreover are not insured for such”, according to the government. A too large claim to the social services is one of the reasons for the private member’s bill for residence requirements in the Netherlands for inhabitants from Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten.
With regard to integration the government wrote it will emphasize the own responsibility of migrants. Integration courses are to be paid by the migrants and if possible followed also in the country of origin. With this migrants will be better prepared, according to the government, referring to an evaluation of the policy.
Regarding discrimination on the labor market – a constant source of concern in the Caribbean community in the Netherlands – it’s stated that the responsibility largely lies with employers and temp agencies, but that the Ministry of Social Services and Employment has consulted with the various parties involved and there’s the willingness to discourage discrimination. Furthermore, developments in this field are being charted precisely.
In this context it may also be of interest to learn what Jessica Berkel (Statia) has to say recently about ‘being a local‘:
Why would anyone want to be considered a local? What is so important? Why is it an issue? I would love that question answered. I have been coming to Statia every other year since I was 2 and I live here now permanently for 17 years. My entire family is from here yet I am not a local, don’t want to be considered one becuz I am not. I was born on Curacao, raised on St. Maarten and consider myself a St. Maartener because that’s where I was raised. And whatever I consider myself to be still isn’t putting food on my table or paying my taxes. If someone has to ask and wonder then they are not a local…. move on, there’s nothing to see here. Be proud of who you are and where you come from. And just be happy to be living on Statia. Until we regress to separate water coolers for locals and non-locals (if you get my drift) let’s stop giving weight to the debate. Its a non-issue.