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Spoken word

Venezuelan refugees in the Kingdom of the Netherlands

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Venezolaanse vluchtelingen in het koninkrijk der Nederlanden

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. Part of the refugees ended up in Cura&ccedil;ao, 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?<br />
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Exactly how many Venezuelan refugees are staying in Cura&ccedil;ao is not clear, but it is estimated around 14,000 a 15,000. In September 2018, Amnesty International published a report on the reception of Venezuelans in Cura&ccedil;ao. According to this report, the situation is very worrying. Venezuelans are detained in detention centers in bad conditions and there is no asylum procedure. People are sent back to Venezuela without an assessment of the risk they face. <br />
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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 Cura&ccedil;ao.<br />
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What is the current situation for Venezuelans in Cura&ccedil;ao? Are human rights indeed being violated here and what responsibility does the Kingdom of the Netherlands have? We discuss it with, among others, Venezuelan Mary Goidi (spokesperson Venex, the volunteer organization for Venezuelans in Cura&ccedil;ao), Paul Comenencia (member of the Council of State on behalf of Cura&ccedil;ao) and Frans Glissenaar (journalist and researcher Zembla).<br />
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<strong>About the speakers</strong><br />
<ul>
<li>Mary Goidi is the spokesperson for Venex, the volunteer organization in Cura&ccedil;ao that defends the interests of Venezuelan refugees staying on the island. We talk to her about the impact of the Venezuela crisis on her life and the situation in Cura&ccedil;ao.</li>
<li>Paul Comenencia represent the country of Cura&ccedil;ao in the Advisory Division of the Council of State of the Kingdom as a State Council. In this position he makes sure that the interests and position of Cura&ccedil;ao is taking into account into all the advises of the State Council. Before, he was a minister of the Netherlands Antilles in The Hague. From 2009 to 2013, Paul Comenencia was consul general for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Rio de Janeiro.</li>
<li>Frans Glissenaar is a journalist and researcher for the Dutch television program Zembla. He was the researcher for the Zembla broadcast &lsquo;washed up in the Kingdom of the Netherland&rsquo; which investigated whether the Kingdom of the Netherlands was violating human rights in Cura&ccedil;ao.</li>
</ul>
Moderator is Natasja Gibbs. She is a journalist and the coordinator of the journalism platform Caribbean Network

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