World Refugee Day: we’ve failed so far

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Tomorrow, June 20, 2019 the United Nations commemorates the World Refugee Day drawing the public’s attention to the millions of refugees and Internally displaced persons worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict and persecution.

Has is dawned on us that Venezuelans seeking refuge in the Americas are probably worse off in Curaçao according to reputable international organizations?

We have failed to put in place a protection scheme for these refugees. They live in fear and in hiding. The abuse and (sexual) exploitation to which Venezuelan women are vulnerable is alarming. Yet we prefer to ignore their plight and only seem to be concerned with arresting, detaining, and deporting Venezuelans with irregular status.

Why hasn’t this news struck a cord yet in The Netherlands who likes to see itself as a human rights champion?

No one disagrees that the arrival of scores of people fleeing the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela to come to Curaçao presents real challenges for our island. But the lack of compassion and humanity shown so far is frankly disconcerting. It’s true that Curaçao is struggling with its own problems but, we are not absolved from doing our best to accommodate this group of people.

It seems that the governments in Willemstad and The Hague are so consumed by legal and constitutional technicalities that they hardly noticed how they’ve failed the humanitarian standards by which they were expected to deal with these refugees.

It’s a shame.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Author: alexdavidrosaria

Alex Rosaria is from Curaçao. He has a MBA from University of Iowa. He was Member of Parliament, Minister of Economic Affairs, State Secretary of Finance and United Nations Development Programme Officer in Africa and Central America. He is an independent consultant active in Asia and the Pacific.

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