The political and economic crisis in Venezuela has led to one of the largest mass movements in South America’s history. Due to lack of food, medical care and future prospects, more than 3.4 million people have left Venezuela. Some of the refugees ended up in Curaçao, which is 70 km away from Venezuela. According to legal experts and aid organizations, the reception of these refugees is very worrying and human rights are being violated. What are the experiences of Venezuelans on the island? And what responsibility does the Kingdom of the Netherlands have?
Exactly how many Venezuelan refugees are staying in Curaçao is not clear, but it is estimated at around 14,000 to 15,000. In September 2018, Amnesty International published a report on the reception of Venezuelans in Curaçao. According to this report, the situation is very worrying. Venezuelans are held in detention centres in bad conditions and there is no asylum procedure. People are sent back to Venezuela without an assessment of the risk they face. According to Amnesty International, human rights are being violated and the Kingdom of the Netherlands must take responsibility to improve the reception. But so far, Raymond Knops, Secretary of State for the Interior and Kingdom Relations, has indicated that it is the responsibility of Curaçao.
Moderator Natasja Gibbs spoke with Venezuelan Mary Goiri (VenEurope), Paul Comenencia (member of the Council of State on behalf of Curaçao), Gilberto Morishaw and Frans Glissenaar (journalist and researcher). What are the experiences of Venezuelans on the island? Are human rights indeed being violated here? And what responsibility does the Kingdom of the Netherlands have?