Implementation equal treatment laws in Caribbean Netherlands

Dutch Min­ister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Hanke Bruins Slot has decided to implement the equal treat­ment legislation, includ­ing the General Law Equal Treatment, in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

The decision is in line with the reconnaissance that Minister Bruins Slot and State Secretary for Kingdom Relations and Digitisation Alexandra van Huffelen received from the external advisory committee which visited the three islands last year to get their feelings on the possible implementation of the Dutch equal treat­ment laws. The Executive Councils of Bonaire, St. Eu­statius and Saba have asked for a speedy implementation and execution of the equal treatment laws.

Minister Hanke Bruins Slot (left) and State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen (right) with members of the Equal Treatment Legislation Advisory Committee Glenn Thodé (second from left) and Jacques van Eck (second from right). (BZK Ministry photo)

“Article 1 of the Constitu­tion is valid for the entire Netherlands, so also in the Caribbean parts of the Neth­erlands. That means that this legislation should also be ap­plicable to Bonaire, St. Eu­statius and Saba. We are now going to take this important step,” said Minister Bruins Slot in a press release earlier this week.

“The Executive Councils last year emphatically asked me to implement and ex­ecute this legislation as soon as possible. The advisory committee had intensive talks on the islands about the fundamental right of equal treatment. It is of great im­portance for me that the public entities were closely involved in the drafting of this advice,” said State Sec­retary Van Huffelen.

Article 1 of the Dutch Constitution contains the equality principle and the prohibition to discriminate. Article 1 of the Constitution is worked out in a number of equal treatment laws which forbid discrimination, based on a number of grounds. Until now, these equal treat­ment laws are only valid for the European part of the Netherlands. This will change.

With the implementation and execution of this law in the Caribbean Netherlands, the establishing of local an­ti-discrimination reporting points and the possibility of individual complaints han­dling by the Human Rights Council, the protection against discrimination based on, among other things, skin colour, sexual orientation, religion, handicap and gen­der will be increased.

The right on equal treat­ment on the islands will be­come better safeguarded and enforceable. There will also be attention to cre­ate more awareness for the new legislation. Aside from the Executive Councils of the three islands, the Sec­ond Chamber of the Dutch Parliament and the Human Rights Council had also ex­pressed their support.

The National Coordinator against Discrimination and Racism, the cooperating anti-discrimination platform, involved NGOs and stakeholders on the islands support the find­ings and recommendations of the advisory committee. The advisory committee that carried out the reconnais­sance consisted of former Bonaire Island Governor Glenn Thodé and former Member of the Council of State Jacques van Eck.

Minister Bruins Slot will now Start the legislation trajectory to have the equal treatment laws applicable to the Caribbean Netherlands. The reporting facilities, legal assistance and complaints handling will be worked out as well.

The Daily Herald.

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