THE HAGUE--The Dutch government will honour the requests of the governments of Curaçao and Aruba to provide technical assistance with the asylum procedure for Venezuelan refugees who have fled to the two Dutch Caribbean countries.
Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops announced the assistance in a letter he sent to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Friday. In that letter, he also addressed Venezuela’s decision to close the maritime and air border with Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire for an indefinite period.
According to Knops, the cooperation between the Netherlands and the authorities in Curaçao and Aruba in the area of asylum and migration has intensified. “The recent assistance requests from Aruba and Curaçao offer a chance to further intensify and expand this cooperation,” he stated.
Knops explained that the Curaçao government had made an additional request for assistance on January 10, 2019. It concerns Willemstad’s wish to further optimise the asylum request procedure for protection of refugees based on the European Human Rights Convention EVRM so this is in line with international obligations.
“The Dutch government understands the concerns of Curaçao and the need to tackle the issues. That is why the Netherlands has offered to provide technical assistance in the short term to set up adequate processes and procedures within the various parts of the immigration system,” stated Knops. He announced that the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security will provide the necessary trainings and schooling.
The Dutch government will also assist, on Curaçao’s request, with vaccinations against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and polio DKTP, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
In consultation with Curaçao, possibilities will be looked into to expand the cooperation with the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment RIVM in the area of diagnostics for yellow fever and diphtheria. Also, on the request of Willemstad, the Dutch government will look at providing extra support in the area of maritime border control.
In reaction to the requests of Aruba Minister of Justice, Security and Integration Andin Bikker of February 1 and 20, 2019, Knops confirmed that Dutch State Secretary of Justice and Security Mark Harbers had informed the Aruba government that his ministry will provide the requested assistance.
This concerns temporary assistance of the immigration sector in Aruba with trainings and schooling to optimise the existing asylum procedure and support to handle asylum requests. Further details of the cooperation and assistance are being worked out with the authorities in Aruba and Curaçao.
In his letter, Knops referred to the announcement of Venezuela’s Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez on February 20, 2019, that the country would close the maritime and air border with Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire for an indefinite period. The decision is a response Curaçao’s preparations to set up a hub for humanitarian aid.
“The Kingdom laments the unilateral decision of the Maduro government. During the four-month closure of the border last year, it became clear that Venezuela too benefits from open borders. The input of the Kingdom is to create an exception so stranded travellers in Venezuela and on the islands can at least return home,” stated Knops.