Council of State: More clarification needed for Caribbean Neths. laws

The law proposal that would make Dutch equal treatment laws applicable to the Caribbean Netherlands requires more clarification. This was con­cluded by the Council of State’s Advisory Depart­ment in its advice published on Monday, March 18. The council also recommends additional financial mea­sures for companies and organisations that would be “disproportionately” af­fected by the equal treat­ment laws because they would have to acquire fa­cilities for people with a handicap.

With this law proposal, the Dutch government aims to synchronise the approach to discrimination in the Caribbean and European Netherlands. Besides the law proposal, the govern­ment plans on establishing a local anti-discrimination registration point in the Caribbean Netherlands and the Netherlands Insti­tute for Human Rights will be authorised to evaluate individual complaints of discrimination on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

According to the council, the law proposal mostly focuses on the meaning of the laws for the equal treatment of people with a handicap or chronic illness. “Although the Advisory Department understands why much attention has been paid to this, it believes that the implementation of other equal treatment laws requires more clarifica­tion,” it was stated on the council website.

That is why the Council of State advises government to clarify the situation in regard to other facets of equal treatment.

The council concludes that most of the equal treatment laws originate from Eu­ropean law, which cannot automatically be applied to the Caribbean Neth­erlands. But the proposal does not clarify the conse­quences of the voluntary application of these Euro­pean policies. The council thus recommends clarifying this in the equal treatment law proposal.

Additionally, the equal treatment laws may dispro­portionately affect those that must now build facili­ties to make their business or organisation more acces­sible. However, although the law proposal mentions that local facts and circum­stances may be taken into account when it comes to this disproportionality, the proposal does not clarify how these situations may be evaluated. The coun­cil also wishes to see more clarification regarding the additional funds that these companies or organisations may receive to minimise the disproportionate ef­fects of these laws.

Finally, the council sug­gests that the government defines the steps that still must be taken to ratify the United Nations Disabil­ity Treaty in the Caribbean Netherlands.

The Daily Herald.

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