The Daily Herald writes that the Dutch Government wants a task force established to draft a plan to improve children’s rights in the Dutch Caribbean. Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk stated at a debate with the Second Chamber on Tuesday. Children’s rights will be a prominent agenda point of the April 2nd Kingdom Conference in Aruba. The Dutch Government has asked to put children’s rights on the agenda. Curaçao and Aruba have agreed to put this agenda point as they too consider it important to improve children’s rights on the islands. Plasterk said he would like to see a task force established that would draft a plan of approach, which should be ready within a year and ready for a followup at the subsequent Kingdom Conference.
The United Nations Children Fund UNICEF Netherlands drafted reports on children’s rights in the Dutch Caribbean last year, which showed that although there have been improvements in this area children’s rights are still being violated on the islands. Many children are neglected and abused, and many do not feel safe. Teenage pregnancies are high and many children suffer from obesity due to wrong food consumption.
Plasterk said he was happy that several countries had indicated the willingness to work together in the best interest of the children. The Netherlands is responsible for children’s rights in the Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba; whereas Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten carry that responsibility for the children in their own country.
Member of the Second Chamber Roelof van Laar of the Labour Party PvdA asked the minister to also address the important role that fathers have in the upbringing of their children. “Fathers have a responsibility. We should jointly send that message,” said Van Laar. Plasterk promised to discuss this issue with the overseas countries.
Member of Parliament Gert-Jan Segers of the ChristianUnion CU said he was glad that children’s rights had been put on the agenda of the Kingdom Conference. He said he was under the impression that this issue had not sufficiently “landed” at all Parliaments of the overseas countries.