Published On: Thu, Jun 15th, 2017

Clash during IPKO about Venezuelan refugee problem

IPKO2THE HAGUE - The increase in tensions in Venezuela also increases the pressure on Aruba and Curaçao. During the first day of the Inter-Parliamentary Conference of the Kingdom (IPKO), tensions were high in the Netherlands, especially on the role of the Kingdom in the refugee issue from Venezuela.

According to Member of Parliament Menki Rojer of the Curaçao delegation, 70 to 100 Venezuelan refugees are landing on a daily basis and there are now more than 5,000 staying illegally on the island. Ana Maria Pauletta MP spoke about migrant flow to a small island and Giselle McWilliam MP thinks that the Netherlands should be on alert both military and politically.

André Bosman MP of the Dutch delegation said that he believes that it is too easy to say. The Dutch MP wants the Caribbean countries to take their own responsibilities and then look at what the Netherlands can help them with and in what way.

That’s when a debate started between Pauletta and Bosman. Pauletta believes that Bosman’s party, the VVD, is trivializing the issue and trying to make it sound ridiculous. Bosman felt personally attacked (he said that off the record) and repeated that the islands should be more concrete with their petition.

Member of the Dutch Senate for the VVD Frank van Kappen pointed out that Curaçao had never made asylum legislation. This is a very good point for Curaçao. The UNHCR (High Commissioner for Refugees of the United Nations) deals with asylum applications and places the petitioner in another country, not in Curaçao.

Aruba has legislation, but there are also concerns. According to Evelyn Wever-Croes MP of the Aruban delegation, 1500 Venezuelans remained on the island in recent months.

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