Children’s rights and economic cooperation will head the agenda of the upcoming Kingdom Conference on Aruba on April 2, writes The Daily Herald. The Dutch government considers these two topics of importance to discuss with the overseas partners, countries Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten. Representing the Dutch government at this conference will be Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk along with a delegation of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK.
The children’s rights issue relates to last year’s report of the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF Netherlands on the rights of children in the Dutch Caribbean and the situation of youngsters on the islands. According to the organisation, children’s rights are not lived up to on the islands. The Netherlands has a specific responsibility to make sure that children’s rights are guaranteed for Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. The Dutch government would like to see more cooperation between the countries in the Kingdom in the area of children’s rights.
The Dutch government also wants to expand the economic cooperation between the different partners in the Kingdom. Economic cooperation was the main theme of the visit of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to the Dutch Caribbean in July 2013.
The agenda has yet to be set for the Kingdom Conference, but Aruba and Curaçao have already indicated to the Netherlands that they agree to give children’s rights and economic cooperation a prominent place on the agenda. St. Maarten hasn’t yet given its input on the agenda.
During the previous and first Kingdom Conference in the Netherlands in December 2011, it was decided to establish mixed work groups that would look at various topics like movement of persons within the Kingdom and the matter of establishing a committee to solve disputes among the Kingdom partners. The work groups have yielded little results so far, but the topics will be placed on the agenda nonetheless.
Delegations will have a preparatory meeting on April 1, the day before the conference. Prime Minister Rutte is not expected to attend the conference. Representing St. Maarten will be Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson along with a few top civil servants.