Published On: Tue, Jun 20th, 2017

47th General Assembly of the Organization of American States Intervention – Dialogue with Permanent Observers Prime Minister Rhuggenaath

Rhuggenaath_OASDistinguished Chair, Fellow Delegates, Good Afternoon, it is an honor for me, as Prime Minister of Curaçao to represent the Kingdom of the Netherlands as a permanent observer to the Organization of American States at its 47th General Assembly. As you know, our Kingdom is made up of four countries: the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. As head of our delegation, I would like to emphasize the importance that all four countries place on human rights, democracy, peace and justice.

As such, the Kingdom of the Netherlands has shown strong commitment to OAS over the years. We have, and will continue to support the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In addition, we continue to back the OAS Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia.

For us, the OAS, is an important regional body. Not only for the universal values already mentioned, but also to enhance peace and prosperity of all countries in the region.

Curaçao is a hub for international trade as well as a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. We are at a crossroads between different continents and peoples; we understand how migration, family ties, and common languages connect us all. As a result, we are all about engaging with our friends and 3 partners throughout the Hemisphere. In fact, it’s in our DNA.

Especially for us Caribbean islands, regional and international partnerships are important. The challenges we face today often require us to look beyond our national borders, for economic cooperation, technical support, and capacity building. This requires consistent and continuous effort. Like the Curaçaoan poet, Ellis Juliana, once said, “Sintá pornada, ta trabou di mas pisá, ku nò ta paga.” In other words, sitting idly is no doubt the hardest work, that doesn’t pay. The time for action is now.

Climate change, food security, and the fight against terrorism, and also cybercrime affect us all, and finding joint solutions today is imperative in addressing these complex, 21st-century challenges, as well as for creating new opportunities for collaboration, growth and development.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands, therefore, endeavors to boost regional cooperation with OAS member states, through MOU’s and other agreements that enhance trade and development. Recently, the Kingdom of the Netherlands signed MOU’s with the Dominican Republic, to further strengthen ties with the four countries of the Kingdom. Additionally, a Kingdom-wide trade mission to Panama paved the way for concrete 5 collaboration across different sectors, emphasizing the importance that cooperation should no longer be just government to government, but society to society as well. In Curaçao, we also attach value to turning agreements into action – collaborating with the Republic of Colombia, for example, to further develop Curaçao’s agricultural sector guaranteeing food security, job creation, and fostering shared prosperity.

Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, are Caribbean SIDS. Hence, we very well understand, not only the vulnerabilities of islands with respect to changing weather patterns and environmental protection but more importantly the significance of international collaboration in the area of disaster risk 6 management and reduction that the OAS strives to enhance.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands recently obtained a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council. Throughout our campaign, we focused on our connection to two regions, Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean; endowing us with a unique vantage point.

In this light, we also look forward to the discussions on multidimensional security, including regional security. We are increasingly concerned with the political, economic, social and humanitarian developments in Venezuela. The unfolding worrying events directly impact the region including Aruba and Curaçao already seeing the spillover effects. As a close neighbor and with a strong sense of 7 compassion for the people of Venezuela, we feel the need to work together with the region and Venezuela towards a peaceful solution. We therefore wholeheartedly thank the OAS and its Member States for their efforts so far in this respect. We continue to look forward to fruitful meetings during these days and working together with you to further human rights, democracy, peace, justice and stability in our region.

Thank you for your attention.

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