09 December 2016

DUTCH ADMINISTERED CARIBBEAN COLONIES SHOULD BE ADDED TO UNITED NATIONS COLONIAL LIST - CARIBBEAN CONFERENCE


"Deeply concerned that the people of Bonaire and Sint Eustatius are presently being governed, contrary to democratic norms, under a political status of political and economic inequality not of their choosing." 


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CONFERENCE ON THE POLITICAL FUTURE
OF THE DUTCH-ADMINISTERED CARIBBEAN

FINAL COMMUNIQUÉ 

Kralendiik, Bonaire, December 1, 2016

The Conference on the Political Future of the Dutch-Administered Caribbean,

Having met at Bonaire, West Indies on 1st December 2016,

Aware that the political status of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius (Statia) and Saba was transformed in 2010 from being a part of the autonomous country of the (former) Netherlands Antilles to a new political arrangement unilaterally advanced by the Kingdom of the Netherlands akin to that of 'partial integration', and characterized by serious political and economic inequality, rather than the promised political and economic equality originally envisaged.

 Also aware that this new status is tantamount to unilateral annexation, and is wholly inconsistent with the minimum standards of full self-government and equality required on the basis of international principles of democratic governance,

Bearing in mind that the 'public entity' status does not reflect the wishes of the people of Bonaire who had previously selected a political status of "direct ties to the Kingdom" of the Netherlands in a 2004 referendum rather than the political status of "public entity" which has been unilaterally and systematically imposed by the Kingdom since the 2010 dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles and the subsequent transition,

Also bearing in mind that the 'public entity' political status was formally rejected by the people of Bonaire in a 2015 referendum by a decisive 'No' vote of over 65 per cent, and taking note that discussions are underway for the conduct of a second referendum to be conducted, with United Nations (U.N.) involvement, so that the people can choose from a group of political status options of democratic governance and political equality,

Taking into account that the people of Sint Eustatius voted in its 2005 referendum to remain within a restructured autonomous country of the Netherlands Antilles, but as the 2005 referendum results resulted in the dismantlement of that autonomous country, the Island Council of Sint Eustatius subsequently approved a motion to accept the ‘direct ties’ arrangement offered to Bonaire and Saba, even as the people had not voted in favour of the status, and even as the nature of its political and economic inequality had not yet been revealed,

Also taking into account that the people of Sint Eustatius in a 2014 referendum, under official observation of the U.N. Electoral Affairs Division of the Department of Political Affairs, formally rejected the imposed 'public entity' status by voting for a more autonomous status from a list of political status options, and recalling that the results of the 2014 referendum were formally certified and endorsed by motion of the Island Council on 25th May 2015 as a clear mandate of the people,

Alarmed that the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in spite of the democratically expressed wishes of the people of Sint Eustatius and Bonaire in their rejection of the imposed political status of ‘public entity’ in 2014 and 2015, respectively, is proceeding through measures in the Kingdom Parliament to formally annex the two territories through a process of ‘anchoring’ the two islands in the Dutch Constitution, and further alarmed that this unilateral process of the Kingdom would result in a legitimization of the dependency status contrary to international norms of democratic governance and in opposition to  the expressed will of the people of Bonaire and Sint Eustatius,

Expresses its deep concern for the suspension of direct contact by the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with the democratically elected government of  Sint Eustatius, as announced by the Kingdom Minister of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations on 30th November 2016, following on from a similar suspension in 2015 which lasted for a period of six months,

Further expresses its deep concern for the imposition of unilateral financial supervision which requires Kingdom approval for public expenditures by the Government Sint Eustatius,

Recalling the Motion adopted by the Island Council of Sint Eustatius on 28th May 2015 which confirmed, inter alia, that the population of Sint Eustatius had not yet exhausted all its options as far as exercising its right to self-determination in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, and which reminded the Netherlands of its continued obligations towards Sint Eustatius as part of the former Netherlands Antilles,

Taking note of the proposed 'Raizal Statute' submitted by the Raizal Authority of the archipelago of Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina to the Government of Columbia to modernize the political, socio-economic and constitutional relationship between the people of the archipelago and the State of Columbia, and affirming the self-determination aspirations of the Raizal people,

Also taking note of the “Assessment of self-governance sufficiency in conformity with internationally-recognised standards – Country Curacao” undertaken in 2012 by the global Dependency Studies Project which found that the present governance model in place in Curacao emerging from the 2010 dismantlement process of the Netherlands Antilles further reduced the level of self-government to a diminished autonomous model, and is not in compliance with contemporary international standards of full self-government,
           
1.        Affirms that the referendum results of 2014 in Sint Eustatius, and of 2015 in Bonaire, constituted a formal, genuine and legitimate refutation of the 'public entity' status as expressed by the people, and alarmed that the 'public entity' status imposed on the people of Sint Eustatius and Bonaire had been misrepresented as a genuine status of political equality by the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 2010 at the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles,

2.        Deeply concerned that the people of Bonaire and Sint Eustatius are presently being governed, contrary to democratic norms, under a political status of political and economic inequality not of their choosing,

3.        Reaffirms the continued applicability to Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba of relevant international law doctrine on self-determination and decolonization, including the provisions of Chapter XI on the "Declaration Regarding Non Self-Governing Territories,"

4.        Also reaffirms the continued applicability of  Article 73 (b) of the United Nations (U.N.) Charter which mandates that "Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and their varying stages of advancement,"

5.        Emphasizes the continued applicability to Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba of the U.N. Decolonization Declaration [Resolution 1514 (XV)], its companion Resolution 1541 (XV), and all other relevant U.N. resolutions, as well as the present Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism and its plan of action,


6.        Also emphasizes the applicability of relevant General Assembly resolutions which recognize that "the existence of colonialism in any form or manifestation," as "incompatible with the Charter of the United Nations, the (Decolonization) Declaration and the Universal Declaration of Human  Rights' and further emphasizes the applicability of the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly which confirm that self-determination is a fundamental human right protected under the core human rights conventions including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), et al,

7.        Takes note with interest that the U.N. General Assembly Resolution 945 (X) of 15 December 1955 removing the former Netherlands Antilles from the U.N. list of Non Self-Governing Territories did not affirm that the former Netherlands Antilles had achieved a full measure of self-government, thus leaving open the possibility for the U.N. to resume formal review of the self-governance sufficiency of the former territory and any of its former constituent parts, in particular Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, with the aim of fostering a genuine process of self-determination,          

8.        Calls on the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as a matter of urgency, to lift the financial supervision imposed on the Government of Sint Eustatius, and to resume official communication with its democratically-elected government,

9.        Further calls on the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as a matter of urgency, to cease any action in its Parliament to legitimize (anchor) the 'public entity status of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba in the constitution of the Netherlands, and to enter into immediate consultations with the elected governments of both territories to carry out the will of the people of Sint Eustatius and Bonaire, as democratically expressed in the respective 2014 and 2015 referenda, consistent with their inalienable right to self-determination.


9.        Calls for the Kingdom of the Netherlands and/or other relevant U.N. member States to initiate the necessary procedures for the re-inscription of the former Netherlands Antilles islands of Bonaire and Sint Eustatius on the United Nations list of Non Self-Governing Territories to provide the international community with  the required platform to review, in depth where democratic deficiencies in the dependency governance arrangement may exist,

10.      Endorses the commissioning of an independent Self Governance Assessment of the political status and constitutional arrangements of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, through the use of the "Corbin Self-Governance Indicators," to determine the nature and scope of the public entity status according to international standards, and requests that the necessary resources be identified for the Assessment to be carried out as a key substantive document to inform the U.N. in its consideration of the re-inscription process of Bonaire and Saint Eustatius.

11.      Calls on the Government of Columbia, as a matter of urgency, to enter into negotiations with the recognized representatives of the archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina, under the observation of the relevant international  human rights mechanism(s), on the proposed Raizal Statute which provides for alternative political status options to the status quo, which addresses a broad range of political, socio-economic and constitutional issues and concerns, and which is aimed at the modernization of the political status relationship between the Raizal people and the Columbian state, and recognizes the inalienable right of the people of the archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina to self-determination in accordance with international law, in particular, the United Nations Charter and relevant human rights instruments.



08 December 2016

COPPPAL rechaza posible intento de recolonizar las denominadas islas holandesas




Kralendijk, Bonaire 1ro de diciembre de 2016 

La Conferencia Permanente de Partidos Políticos de América Latina y El Caribe, Copppal, en reunión celebrada en Bonaire con las formaciones políticas de esta isla, de Aruba y Curazao, que pertenecen a nuestra entidad regional y que encabezó su presidente, Manolo Pichardo, discutió la situación por la que atraviesan las mencionadas islas que a decir de los asistentes retroceden hacia un proceso de recolonización que viola acuerdos suscritos en las Naciones Unidas. 

Los dirigentes de Bonaire manifestaron que su pueblo expresó, mediante un referéndum, que no desea quedar en el estatus actual de municipio estatal (estatus colonial). 

De igual forma el pueblo de Statia, también en referéndum, externó que no quiere mantener su condición colonial, mientras que Curazao manifestó su desacuerdo con la supervisión que controla sus finanzas y su aparato judicial. 

Con la imposición por parte de Holanda de un Gobernador en Aruba, un colegio de supervisión financiera y el traslado de su Corte de Justicia a Curazao, la corona holandesa viola los acuerdos de 1954, en que la ONU insta a Holanda a iniciar un proceso de descolonización y autodeterminación de los pueblos bajo su dominio, en el que el país europeo se comprometía a hacer un reporte anual del avance del proceso sugerido. 

Además de las violaciones a los acuerdos de 1954 Holanda ha incurrido en el desconocimiento de la autonomía que se le concedió a Aruba en 1983, tras una intensa lucha conducida por Bertico Croes y otros importantes dirigentes. 

Por igual, los partidos de Bonaire denunciaron que Holanda ha burlado el pacto 16/54 que define las reglas para impedir el ingreso masivo de holandeses europeos a las islas, porque con ello y la decisión de que en 90 días pueden ejercer el derecho al voto, podrían incidir de forma decisiva en los asuntos concernientes a los nativos, lo que representaría un nuevo tipo de colonización. 

Partiendo de que algunas de las islas no están siendo tomadas en cuenta para la definición de su autodeterminación, la Conferencia Permanente de Partidos Políticos de América Latina y El Caribe, Copppal, exige poner a Bonaire, Statia y Saba en la lista del Comité de Descolonización de la ONU como pueblos que no tienen su propio gobierno. 

Además pedimos de manera enérgica que se respete la autonomía de estas islas y rechazamos cualquier supervisión sobre Aruba, Curazao y Saint Martin porque éstas pudiesen constituirse en acciones recolonizadoras. 

La Copppal se compromete a acompañar a los partidos de las denominadas islas holandesas en su lucha contra el estatus colonial y la puesta en marcha de un posible esquema de recolonización recurriendo a los mecanismos que pone en nuestras manos la Comunidad Internacional e instituciones como la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños, Celac, la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas, Unasur, El Sistema de Integración Centroamericana, SICA, La Comunidad Andina de Naciones, CAN y la Comunidad del Caribe, CARICOM. 

También, notificaremos a las expresiones parlamentarias de los esquemas de integración de nuestra región: Al Parlamento Centroamericano, Parlacen, al Parlamento del Sur, Parlasur, al Parlamento Andino, Parlandino y al Parlamento Latinoamericano, Parlatino; así como a los parlamentos internos de Curazao, Bonaire y Aruba. 

Asimismo, nuestra Conferencia insta a todas las islas a iniciar un proceso de integración que permita empujar sus luchas en una sola dirección, de suerte que la brega por la soberanía tenga mayor peso e impulso.
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English translation

Kralendijk, Bonaire December 1, 2016

The Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean, (COPPPAL), in a meeting held in Bonaire with the political formations of this island, Aruba and Curacao, which belong to our regional entity and headed by its president, Manolo Pichardo, discussed the situation that cross the mentioned islands that to say of the assistants go back towards a process of recolonización that violates agreements signed in the United Nations.

Bonaire leaders said that their people expressed, through a referendum, that they do not want to remain in the current status of a state municipality (colonial status). Likewise, the people of Statia, also in a referendum, stated that they do not want to maintain their colonial status, while Curacao expressed their disagreement with the supervision that controls its finances and judicial apparatus.

With the imposition by Holland of a Governor in Aruba, a financial supervision college and the transfer of his Court of Justice to Curacao, the Dutch crown violates the 1954 agreements, in which the UN urges the Netherlands to initiate a process of Decolonization and self-determination of the peoples under its control, in which the European country committed itself to make an annual report of the progress of the suggested process.

In addition to the violations of the agreements of 1954 Holland has incurred in the ignorance of the autonomy that was granted to Aruba in 1983, after an intense fight led by Bertico Croes and other important leaders.

The parties in Bonaire also denounced that Holland has circumvented clause 16/54 which defines the rules to prevent the massive entry of European Dutch into the islands, because with it and the decision that in 90 days they can exercise the right to vote, could have a decisive impact on matters concerning the natives, which would represent a new type of colonization.

Given that some of the islands are not being taken into account for the definition of their self-determination, the Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean, (COPPPAL), demands to put Bonaire, Statia and Saba on the list of the Committee on Decolonization of the United Nations as peoples that do not have their own government.

We also strongly urge respect for the autonomy of these islands and reject any oversight over Aruba, Curaçao and Saint Martin because these could constitute re-colonizing actions.

COPPPAL is committed to accompany the parties of the so-called Dutch islands in their fight against colonial status and the implementation of a possible recolonization scheme using the mechanisms that the International Community and institutions such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) and the Caribbean Community, (CARICOM).

We will also notify the parliamentary expressions of the integration schemes of our region: the Central American Parliament PARLACEN); the Parliament of the South (PARLASUR); the Andean Parliament (PARLANDINO) and the Latin American Parliament (PARLATINO); as well as the internal parliaments of Curaçao, Bonaire and Aruba.

Our Conference also urges all the islands to begin a process of integration that will allow them to push their struggles in one direction, so that the struggle for sovereignty will have greater weight and momentum.

07 December 2016

U.N. General Assembly adopts 2016 resolutions on decolonisation of Caribbean, Pacific non self-governing territories



PRESS RELEASE
(eXCERPTS)
GA/11868
6 DECEMBER 2016
SEVENTY-FIRST SESSION, 53RD MEETING (PM)

General Assembly, Taking Action on Reports of Its Fourth Committee, Adopts 37 Draft Resolutions, Decisions

Upon the recommendation of its Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization), the General Assembly adopted 35 resolutions and 2 decisions (on 5th December).
.....
Turning to decolonization questions, the Assembly adopted 21 draft resolutions and one draft decision.  Taking up a draft titled “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations”, the Assembly adopted it by a recorded vote of 125 in favour to none against, with 55 abstentions.  According to that text, the Assembly urged those and other United Nations entities to provide moral and material assistance, as needed, to the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories.
By recorded vote, the Assembly also adopted drafts on assistance to Palestine refugees; persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities; Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues; Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan; Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; as well as a resolution on the occupied Syrian Golan.  It also adopted a text on the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other occupied Arab territories.
The Assembly went on to adopt, also by recorded vote, draft resolution on information from Non-Self-Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73(e) of the United Nations Charter; economic and other activities affecting the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories; and dissemination of information on decolonization.  It further adopted, by recorded vote, texts relating to implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations, as well as to implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.
Closely following the Fourth Committee’s recommendations, the Assembly also adopted, without a vote, a series of annual texts relating to the decolonization of specific Non-Self-Governing Territories.  They included drafts affirming the right to self-determination for the peoples of Western Sahara, Tokelau, American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States Virgin Islands, New Caledonia and French Polynesia.
Also without a vote, the Assembly adopted drafts relating to special political missions, atomic radiation, outer space affairs and offers by Member States of study and training facilities for inhabitants of Non-Self-Governing Territories.
It took note of a report on the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects, and another on the programme planning for the Fourth Committee.
Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted two decisions, one relating to the question of Gibraltar and the other to the revitalization of its own work.
Presenting Fourth Committee reports for the Assembly’s consideration was that body’s Rapporteur.
.....
(A)waiting action were reports on:  questions relating to information (document A/71/497); information from Non-Self-Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 e of the Charter of the United Nations (document A/71/498); economic and other activities which affect the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories (document A/71/499); implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations (document A/71/500); offers by Member States of study and training facilities for inhabitants of Non-Self-Governing Territories (document A/71/501); implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (document A/71/502); revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (document A/71/503); and programme planning (document A/71/504).
.....
By a recorded vote of 176 in favour to none against, with 5 abstentions (Central African Republic, France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States), the Assembly adopted draft resolution I, “Information from Non-Self-Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 e of the Charter of the United Nations” (document A/71/23, chapter XIII).  By that text, it requested the administering Powers concerned to transmit regularly to the Secretary-General statistical and other technical information relating to economic, social and educational conditions in the Territories for which they were respectively responsible.
It also adopted draft resolution IV on “Economic and other activities which affect the interests of the people of the Non-Self-Governing Territories” (document A/71/23, chapter XIII), by a recorded vote of 177 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 2 abstentions (France, United Kingdom).  By that text, the Assembly urged the administering Powers concerned to safeguard and guarantee the inalienable right of the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories to their natural resources, and to establish control over the future development of those resources.
The Assembly then took up draft resolution III, “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations” (document A/71/23, chapter XIII), adopting it by a recorded vote of 125 in favour to none against, with 55 abstentions.  In line with that text, the Assembly urged those and other entities of the United Nations system to provide moral and material assistance, as needed, to the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories.
Taking up a draft resolution titled “Offers by Member States of study and training facilities for inhabitants of Non-Self-Governing Territories” (document A/71/501/L.3), the Assembly adopted it without a vote.
Acting without a vote, it went on to adopt draft resolutions on the Question of Western Sahara (document A/71/502/L.4), Question of Tokelau (document A/71/23, chapter XIII, p.60); Question of American Samoa (document A/71/23, chapter XIII, p.63); Question of Anguilla (document A/71/23, chapter XIII, p.68); Question of Bermuda (document A/71/23, chapter XIII, p.73); Question of the British Virgin Islands (document A/71/23, chapter XIII, p.77); Question of the Cayman Islands (document A/71/23, chapter XIII, p.81); Question of Guam (document A/71/23, chapter XIII, p.91); Question of Montserrat (document A/71/23, chapter XIII, p.91); Question of Pitcairn (document A/71/23, chapter XIII, p.95); Question of Saint Helena (document A/71/23, chapter XIII, p.99); Question of the Turks and Caicos Islands (document A/71/23, chapter XIII, p.104); Question of the United States Virgin Islands (document A/71/23, chapter XIII, p.109); Question of New Caledonia (document A/71/23, chapter XIII, p.114); and the Question of French Polynesia (document A/71/23, chapter XIII, p.120).
The Assembly then adopted, by a recorded vote of 174 in favour to 3 against (Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 2 abstentions (France, Togo), draft resolution II, “Dissemination of information on decolonization” (document A/71/23, XVI, chapter XIII), by which the Assembly requested that the United Nations take measures to publicize its work in the field of decolonization.
By a recorded vote of 171 in favour to 5 against (Côte d’Ivoire, Israel, Morocco, United Kingdom, United States), with 4 abstentions (Colombia, France, Palau, Togo), the Assembly adopted draft resolution V, “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” (document A/71/23, chapter XIII).   By that text, the Assembly called upon administering Powers of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to continue to cooperate with the Special Committee on Decolonization in the discharge of its mandate.  It further called upon administering Powers to facilitate the Special Committee’s visiting missions to the Territories on a case-by-case basis, and to ensure that their economic and other activities in the Territories would not adversely affect their peoples’ interests but instead promote development.
Acting without a vote, the Assembly then adopted two draft decisions, one titled “Question of Gibraltar” (document A/71/503/L.17), and the other concerning the proposed programme of work and timetable for its seventy-second session (documents A/71/503/L.16).
Finally, the Assembly took note of the Fourth Committee’s report on programme planning (document A/71/504).

____________________________________________

Following the General Assembly proceedings, one Pacific decolonization scholar commented:

"It remains a sad commentary that the countries which administer most of the remaining colonies of the world (France, the United Kingdom and the United States) continue their opposition to resolving the contemporary colonialism question as mandated under the United Nations Charter. At the General Assembly session, the two French diplomats scrambled out of their seat in the General Assembly Hall - in rather sad comedic fashion - and ran to the side of the room as the resolution on French Polynesia was being adopted (see U.N. webcast). They returned to their seat when the next agenda item was announced. This rather bizarre diplomatic behavior has been repeated since 2013 and should be unbefitting of a permanent member of the Security Council. Unfortunately, France continues to reject the 'rule of law' by refusing to formally acknowledge the 2013 consensus General Assembly resolution that re-inscribed French Polynesia on the U.N. formal list of colonies, and by rejecting the legal requirement as an administering power to transmit information to the U.N. on developments in the territory which it administers. Apparently, adherence to the U.N. Charter as international law only applies to some countries when it suits them. Meanwhile, the British continue to promote that their brand of colonialism is palatable, while the U.S. rarely speaks on the matter. It is an interesting world we live in at the end of 2016. Despite this intransigence, these countries must be held to account "



28 November 2016

BONAIRE CONFERENCE TO EXAMINE DUTCH COLONIES IN CARIBBEAN

Conference to convene on December 1st


Foundation Nos Boneiru BEK
Kaya Sur Bartola 6
Bonaire




The purpose of the conference is to advance the understanding of the process of self-determination for the Dutch-administered and other territories similarly situated. The convention brings together leaders, professionals and specialists of various backgrounds to facilitate communicate and to promote education on the political status options of full political equality. To this end, the following topics and themes will be explored:

- The political evolution of the Dutch-administered Caribbean to the dissolution of the former autonomous country of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010.

- The implications of the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles and the evolution of 'public entity' status (Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius.

- The evolution of autonomous country status (Curacao, Sint Maarten and Aruba) 

- Other dependency arrangements

- From 'public entity' status to full self-government

- The relevancy of the international self-determination process and its applicability to the 'public entity'  and autonomous country political status arrangements


Image result for Dutch Caribbean
dcbiodata.net



24 November 2016

Puerto Rico voters scarce amid U.S. takeover of territory's economy


CARIBBEAN NEWS NOW !



SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- As the world anxiously observed the US elections, Puerto Rico, a US territory, also held its general election on Tuesday, November 8. And in a place that prides itself for historically having very high voting participation, turnout in these elections reached a new low.
Image by Kike Estrada and taken from
 planetakike.com. Used with permission
The illustration reads: “Don't forget to vote,” but uses a play on words. Normally, “to vote” would be written with a “v,” but in this case the artist wrote it using a “b,” which changes the meaning to “to throw out [the garbage].” The red and blue represent the colors of the two largest political parties in Puerto Rico, red for the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) and blue for the New Progressive Party (NPP).

While the pro-statehood New Progressive Party (PNP in Spanish) is celebrating that its candidate, Ricardo Rosselló Nevares, was elected governor and that they achieved a majority in the Legislature, the fact remains that voter participation for these elections reached only 55.09%, according to the official numbers of the State Electoral Commission (Comisión Estatal de Elecciones, or CEE, in Spanish). This number is extremely low, considering that Puerto Rico traditionally has had a turnout of well over 75%. This year's numbers represent a huge drop from 78.19% in the 2012 election.

Another point of interest is the fact that Ricardo Rosselló won the election with only 655,626 votes, or 41.76%. This is the number that is usually used when discussing by how much a candidate won an election. Bear in mind that Puerto Rico has a population of roughly 3.5 million, of which approximately 2.9 million were registered to vote. This means that the governor was elected only by a little over 22% of registered voters, or roughly 19% of the population. This is the first time that a candidate for governor has been elected to office with such low numbers.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

23 November 2016

Okinawa Governor Seeks talks with US President-elect Trump


“In the case of Clinton, she supported the same politics that have been practiced up until now. In a sense, I expected that the current deadlock would simply persist.” - Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga

Governor Onaga sends congratulations to U.S. President-elect Trump, hopes to break deadlock

Governor Onaga sends congratulations to U.S. President-elect Trump, hopes to break deadlock
Governor Takeshi Onaga

 Ryukyu Shimpo
Reporters have learned that on November 9, Governor Takeshi Onaga sent a message of congratulations to U.S. president-elect Donald Trump. It is the first time a governor has sent a message of congratulations to a winning candidate in a U.S. presidential election.
Regarding the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, the Okinawa prefectural government was of the perspective that had Hillary Clinton, who promoted the Henoko relocation as Secretary of State, been elected, no significant change could be expected. Regarding the impact of Trump’s inauguration as president, a prefectural official expressed caution, saying that there are many unknowns, but added that “there is expectation that something will happen,” expressing an intention to reach out to Trump and those around him to try to find a resolution through direct dialogue.
Regarding the impact that the outcome of the U.S. presidential election will have on the Henoko relocation, Governor Onaga explained, “In the case of Clinton, she supported the same politics that have been practiced up until now. In a sense, I expected that the current deadlock would simply persist.” He added, “In the case of Trump, his win is unprecedented. I don’t know how the base issue will be impacted, but I doubt Trump will practice a politics of deadlock. I will express my perspective [to Trump] as soon as possible.”
According to prefectural officials, the congratulatory message was not a suggestion from administrators but an order from the governor himself. The message congratulated Trump on his victory, conveyed wishes for progress in the United States, and expressed a desire for an opportunity to talk about the relationship between the United States and Okinawa after Trump’s inauguration. An initial draft of the message referred to the Henoko new base construction and other base issues, but from the perspective of beginning with dialogue, specific issues were not touched on in the final version.
(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

21 November 2016

UN COMMITTEE ON ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION REPEATS ANNUAL CALL TO UN DECOLONIZATION COMMITTEE FOR INFORMATION ON RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN COLONIAL TERRITORIES



Eighty-seventh session
(3-28 August 2015)
Eighty-eighth session
(23 November-11 December 2015)
Eighty-ninth session
(25 April-13 May 2016)

General Assembly
Official Records
Seventy-first Session
Supplement No. 18

EXCERPT

*****

VIII. Consideration of copies of petitions, copies of reports and other information relating to Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories to which General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) applies, in conformity with article 15 of the Convention

44. Under article 15 of the Convention, the Committee is empowered to consider copies of petitions, reports and other information relating to Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories and to all other territories to which General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) applies, as transmitted to it by the competent bodies of the United Nations, and to submit to the General Assembly its expressions of opinion and recommendations in this regard. 

45. Accordingly, and at the request of the Committee, Mr. Bossuyt examined the report of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples covering its work during 2014[1] and copies of the working papers on the 16 Territories prepared by the secretariat for the Special Committee and the Trusteeship Council (see CERD/C/89/3) and presented his report to the Committee at its eighty-ninth session, on 13 May 2016.

  The Committee noted, as it had done in the past, that it was difficult to fulfil its functions comprehensively under article 15 of the Convention owing to the fact that the copies of the reports received pursuant to paragraph 2 (b) contained only scant information directly relating to the principles and objectives of the Convention. (EMPHASIS ADDED)

46. The Committee further noted that there was significant ethnic diversity in a number of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, warranting a close watch on incidents or trends that reflected racial discrimination and violation of rights guaranteed in the Convention. 

The Committee therefore stressed that greater efforts should be made to raise awareness concerning the principles and objectives of the Convention in Non-Self-Governing Territories. 

The Committee also stressed the need for States parties administering Non-Self-Governing Territories to include details on the implementation of the Convention in those territories in their periodic reports to the Committee. 



                    [1]   Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixty-ninth Session, Supplement No. 23 (A/69/23). 

Dutch Political Leaders support independence for autonomous countries of Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten

Call For Completion Of Independence Trajectory



THE HAGUE -The trajectory to achieve full independence for Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten should be completed. The Dutch Government should approach the United Nations (UN) to discuss this.
The liberal democratic VVD party and the Socialist Party (SP) made this call during the second day of the handling of the 2017 Kingdom Relations budget in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Thursday.
Members of Parliament (MP) André Bosman (VVD) and Ronald van Raak (SP) submitted a joint motion at the end of a lengthy debate in which they requested the Dutch Government to consult the UN, together with Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten, to arrive at a “definite fulfilment of the right of self-determination of all countries in the Kingdom.”
In the motion, Bosman and Van Raak made mention of the UN decolonisation process that started after 1945, and the fact that the Kingdom Charter of 1954 was “the first step in the decolonisation process.” According to the motion, the Charter was never the end goal to do justice to the full right of self-determination of all countries within the Kingdom.
Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk tried to convince Bosman that it was a “futile exercise” to go to the UN without the consent of the Dutch Caribbean countries on this matter, especially if the countries voiced their objections to the UN.
The Minister said that he would first have to discuss this important step in the history of the Kingdom with the three countries before going to the UN. Bosman subsequently agreed to shelve the motion for now in order to give the Minister the chance to enter into discussions with the overseas countries. Plasterk promised a reply before December 31 this year.
The issue of independence sparked a debate between Plasterk and Bosman who had opposing views on the matter. “We don’t agree on the end goal,” said Plasterk, who made clear that he did not think independence of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten was such a great idea.
Product of history
The Minister pointed out that it was up to the countries to take the decision if, and so when, they wanted to step out of the Kingdom. “Whether that is a wise decision is another matter. Letting go entirely would not be a good thing for the people there. The Kingdom is a product of history including the black page of slavery and colonialism. In my opinion, together we should try to make the best of it in the interest of the people.”
Plasterk said the Dutch Government had “no intention” to end the current constellation and that the Dutch Caribbean countries so far had not made a decision either to go independent. MP Sietse Fritsma of the Party for Freedom PVV objected to the Minister’s line of thinking and made a point that the Netherlands should achieve the right to unilaterally get out of the Kingdom. He submitted a motion to this extent.
Bosman urged Plasterk to proceed on giving content to the trajectory of complete independence described in the Kingdom Charter. He said it was the task of the Dutch Government to actively assist in the developing of the self-governance of the islands, as was stated in article 73 of the UN Charter.
“We have to talk about that with the countries,” said Bosman. Plasterk emphasized that the Dutch Caribbean countries had a right to self-determination and that this was not conflicting with article 73 of the UN Charter.
Van Raak said that the Kingdom Charter had a “smothering” effect on the relations within the Kingdom because the relations were not equal, and there was no way for the Netherlands to unilaterally decide to step out of the Kingdom. Van Raak and Bosman are in favour of a commonwealth structure where, in their opinion, the relations would be more equal.
Hybrid system
“We are in a hybrid system. Nobody has the power to see things through. The polder model doesn’t work in the Caribbean. We need to create clarity,” Bosman said about the current Kingdom structure. He said that while the overseas countries have their own autonomous responsibilities down the line it was the Kingdom, meaning the Netherlands, that was held responsible internationally.
Plasterk noted that there were also good things happening in the Kingdom. He said that Curaçao had a stable government for the past few years. A government which had created sound government finances and had achieved a budget that was truly balanced.
The Minister said that in St. Maarten the concerns about the links between the upper world and underworld remained, but that St. Maarten Governor Eugene Holiday, who has just been reappointed for another six years, had performed a “very strict screening” of the last cabinet. “He did that very well.”
Plasterk said that in the Kingdom it always remained a matter of seeking a balance, of giving space to the local governments, while keeping an eye on the responsibility of the Kingdom Government. “Of course we are not there yet. There is still much room for improvement, but many things are moving in the right direction.”
Refineries
The responsibility of the Kingdom also came up during the debate in relation to the extensive pollution caused by the Isla refinery in Curaçao and the deal that Aruba has made with Citgo Petroleum to reopen the refinery in San Nicolas.
MP Roelof van Laar of the Labour Party PvdA remarked that in Curaçao school children were fainting because of the toxic fumes and that the closing of the school in question was not redressing the actual problem. He urged the Minister to accomplish a real solution in short term. Plasterk said that the Isla refinery had the attention of the Curaçao Government and that with the help of Dutch expertise a solution was being sought.
MP Alexander Pechtold of the Democratic Party D66 criticised the lack of action of the Dutch Government to tackle the pollution caused by the Isla refinery. He said the Dutch Government did not truly see the urgency of the matter. “If the Dutch tourists were affected at their hotel, we would all cry out that this was unacceptable.”
Van Raak was highly critical of the Citgo agreement with Aruba. “Everyone can see that this is a bad deal that will create large debts. The promises of Venezuela are soft as butter,” he said. Plasterk said it was not up to him to judge the Citgo deal. He emphasized that Aruba carried the full financial responsibility for this agreement.