WILLEMSTAD - Stakeholder organizations from the public and private sector of Curaçao will set up and coordinate a platform to work on solutions for the issue of crisis migrants.
This is one of the outcomes of the broad-based Second Round Table conference held last week in Avila, which brought together representatives of the government, employers' and workers' organizations, civil society, NGOs, international organizations and religious groups.
The conference was organized by the human rights organization Human Rights Defense Curaçao, HRDC and technically facilitated by the Social and Economic Council (SER).
The platform is due this week with a report of up to two pages describing practical solutions that can then serve as a guideline for policy formulation in the field of a more inclusive labor market, in which crisis migrants will also play a role.
This was the main reason for organizing the first Round Table about the Labor Market and Migration in August last year, partly as a follow-up to the migration symposium organized by the SER in May 2019. International stakeholders were also invited to this second Strategic Round Table.
Keynote speaker was John Bliek of the International Labor Organization (ILO), who gave a documented presentation, including recent research data, entitled Building Communities: The Economic Benefits of Integrating Migrants into Local Economies.
Other guest speakers included Fabio Siani from the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR/ACNUR and renowned entrepreneur Jean Fayad, speaking on behalf of the private sector.
Special was the testimony of Mrs. Natalie Molina Rodriguez, who received support from her son Edgardo. She migrated from Venezuela eight years ago and, together with three hundred Venezuelan professionals without residence papers, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Gilmar Pisas requesting that the strict conditions of an integration program also be opened to independent professionals. However, so far without tangible results.
According to HRDC, the Curaçao government falls short in its approach to crisis migration, aliens and population policy, as a result of which a large group of crisis migrants falls by the wayside with far-reaching consequences. Not only for the migrants themselves, but also for Curaçao society, which benefits from the right match of skills and work.
Human Rights Defense Curaçao sees that there is a shortage on the island of sufficient expertise and skilled workers, partly due to the aging population and the flight of Curaçaoans to the Netherlands or Bonaire.
This while there is an enormous potential of often young women and men, sometimes entire families living on the margins of society, invisible, ignored, as non-existent. Some have been in Curaçao for more than five years, without a residence permit or legal admission.
They include highly educated people, such as doctors, engineers and IT professionals, who are not allowed to be here, illegally, living in fear of being detained and deported, or abused. No one knows how many there are, how many children were born among them, whether they are stateless or not, and how many of them have left in recent years for third countries under perilous situations, including the United States.
Private and public sector
The new platform will be a combination of participating parties from the private and public sector, including business associations, trade unions and official representatives of the Ministries of Social Development, Labor and Welfare, Justice, Economic Development and Governance, Planning and Services and NGOs, such as Human Rights Defense Curaçao.
ILO and UNHCR/ACNUR are prepared to use their technical expertise and knowledge for the benefit of the multi-stakeholder platform.