D66 enquires about anticipated increase of Venezuela refugees

THE HAGUE - Three Democratic Party D66 Members of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament are seeking clarity on media reports that Curaçao and Aruba can expect an increase in illegal immigration from Venezuela.

Members of Parliament (MPs) Maarten Groothuizen, Antje Diertens and Achraf Bouali sent a series of written questions on the issue of Venezuelan refugees to State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops and State Secretary of Justice and Security Mark Harbers on Thursday.

The Dutch broadcasting company NOS reported on December 18 that Aruba and Curaçao can expect more refugees. The United Nations High Council for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that the number of Venezuelans fleeing to Aruba, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, Guyana and Trinidad will increase from the current 147,000 to 220,000 in 2019.

The MPs wanted to know why Knops had informed parliament in an earlier letter that the Dutch government had no indications of a mass migration of Venezuelans to Aruba and Curaçao, while the UNHCR states otherwise. They asked whether it was correct that the Curaçao government “sent away” the UNHCR representative. The MPs wanted to know the reason and the consequences of this move by Willemstad.

Groothuizen, Diertens and Bouali wanted to know how many Venezuelan refugees are in Aruba, Curaçao and the other neighbouring countries. They also asked how the 5.1 million euros the Dutch government made available to assist Venezuelan refugees is being used and whether there is supervision on the spending of this money.

The MPs further asked about the funds the Dutch government had made available to help improve the detention facilities for foreigners in Curaçao. “How does the Netherlands see to it that this detention of foreigners complies with international standards?”

Referring to article 43 of the Kingdom Charter, the MPs asked about the role of the Dutch government to guarantee basic human rights and how to make sure that these rights were lived up to in Curaçao and Aruba. “Do you think that intervention will be necessary in case the situation (further) deteriorates in the future? How do you monitor the situation?”   

The MPs wanted to know how many Venezuelan refugees had applied for asylum in the Netherlands in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and how many had been approved, rejected or were still being handled. They also asked how many Venezuelans had been refused entry in the Netherlands and sent back to their home country or to Curaçao and Aruba. “Were there children involved? Are people from Venezuela informed of their rights to apply for asylum?”


The large-scale abuse of people in Venezuela worries the D66 MPs. They therefore asked the state secretaries to provide an update on the large number of persons who had been detained arbitrarily, abused and even executed due to their political convictions or participation in protest marches.

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