Parliamentary motion places emphasis on human rights in connection with Dutch COVID-19 financial assistance | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Parliament of Sint Maarten in its meeting of May 19th, 2020, passed the following motion regarding financial assistance for the country related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy.

COVID-19 and its human rights dimensions.

COVID 19 is a test of societies, of governments, of communities and of individuals. Now is the time for solidarity and cooperation to tackle the virus, and to mitigate the effects, often unintended, of measures designed to halt the spread of the virus, according to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner.

Respect for human rights across the spectrum, including economic, social, cultural, and civil and political rights, will be fundamental to the success of the public health response and recovery from the pandemic, the UN Human Rights Office points out.


The motion takes into consideration: That on May 13th, 2020, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands informed the Prime Ministers of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten of a written draft proposal by the Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Relations to provide financial assistance to the latter three governments aimed at mitigating the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 situation,

That the Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Relations in his advice of May 13th 2020 indicated that acceptance of the proposal is due by Wednesday, May 20th, 2020, by 11 a.m. Sint Maarten time,

That the Government of St. Maarten has indicated to Parliament that most, if not all of the conditions proposed by the Dutch Government are equivalent to the ones already being proposed by the Government of St. Maarten

The Charter of the United Nations, and in particular articles 2, 73, 103, resolutions 742 (VIII), 747 (VIII), and 945 (X), the “Statuut voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden”, article 93 of the Constitution (“de Grondwet”) of the Netherlands, article 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)


The fact that the “State Party to said Charters, conventions and protocols is the Kingdom of the Netherlands,

The implications that the Kingdom of the Netherlands is ultimately responsible for guaranteeing that the Caribbean islands within the Kingdom are able to live up to their obligations under all international treaties and conventions to which the Kingdom of the Netherlands as State Party is a signatory,

That this ultimate responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands does not negate the obligation of the Government of the Netherlands to comply with the international laws governing self-determination, decolonization, and the right of the people of Sint Maarten to a full measure self-government based on absolute equality with the Netherlands as colonizing power,

That the Government of the Netherlands voluntarily, unconditionally, and generously provides financial and other assistance to independent nations outside of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean region and beyond,

In accordance with Article 67 of the Constitution of St. Maarten: “Parliament is authorised to represent the interests of Sint Maarten to the Government of the Kingdom and to the Parliament of the Netherlands.”


That the parliament is desirous of fully supporting the Council of Ministers of St. Maarten in its quest to secure financial and other assistance with the sustainable rebuilding and strengthening of the economy of Sint Maarten in the wake of hurricane Irma and the COVID-19 situation for the benefit of the wellbeing of the people of Sint Maarten,


  • To support the government of St. Maarten’s response to the Kingdom Council of Ministers that most if not all of the content of the proposal was already in the planning to be addressed by the government of St. Maarten.
  • That the conditions in said written proposal should only be accepted insofar that:
  • they are not in violation of local Laws, Kingdom Laws, international charters, conventions, and protocols such as those mentioned in the considerations,
  • they are equivalent to the proposals for solidarity that were already in process by the Government of St. Maarten,
  • they should be, as has often been advised by the CFT: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (SMART),
  • the relevant union and labor representatives have been consulted.
  • To remind the Kingdom Government of its obligations and responsibilities, as well as that of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as State Party to the international charters, conventions, and protocols as mentioned in the considerations of this motion; Parliament does this in accordance with Article 67 of the Constitution of St. Maarten.
  • For the council of Ministers to continue dialogue with the Kingdom Government and other relevant partners within the Kingdom with the aim at securing the required COVID-19 related assistance based on the laws, charters, conventions, and protocols as mentioned in the considerations of this motion.
  • To urge the Kingdom Government to cooperate with the process as listed sub 4 of this motion.
  • For the Chair of Parliament and the Chair of the St. Maarten Parliamentary Committee of Kingdom Relations to engage relevant experts on the matters related to this motion to provide advice and assistance on conditionalities within the kingdom for mutual assistance within two (2) weeks.
  • For the Chair of Parliament to bring this motion to the attention of the legitimate legislative, executive, and judiciary branches within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the United Nations, as well as having it added to the agenda of the IPKO meetings scheduled for 2020,
  • And goes over to the order of the day.


    Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

    Michelle Bachelet Jeria

    Who we are?

    The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights) is the leading UN entity on human rights. The General Assembly entrusted both the High Commissioner and her Office with a unique mandate to promote and protect all human rights for all people. The United Nations human rights programme aims to ensure that the protection and enjoyment of human rights is a reality in the lives of all people. UN Human Rights also plays a crucial role in safeguarding the integrity of the three interconnected pillars of the United Nations – peace and security, human rights and development.

    UN Human Rights provides assistance in the form of technical expertise and capacity-development in order to support the implementation of international human rights standards on the ground. It assists governments, which bear the primary responsibility for the protection of human rights, to fulfil their obligations and supports individuals to claim their rights. Moreover, it speaks out objectively on human rights violations.


    UN Human Rights is part of the United Nations Secretariat, with a staff of some 1300 people and its headquarters in Geneva, as well as an office in New York. It has field presences that comprise regional and country/stand-alone offices. Furthermore, UN Human Rights supports the human rights components of UN peace missions or political offices and deploys human rights advisers to work with the United Nations Country teams.

    The Geneva-based headquarters has three substantive divisions:

    Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division (TESPRDD), which develops policy and provides guidance, tools, advice and capacity-strengthening support on thematic human rights issues, including for human rights mainstreaming purposes; and provides support to the Human Rights Council’s special procedures.

    Human Rights Council and Treaty Mechanisms Division (CTMD), which provides substantive and technical support to the HRC and the Council’s UPR mechanism, and supports the human rights treaty bodies.

    Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division (FOTCD), which is responsible for overseeing and implementing the Office’s work in the field.

    Dedicated services and sections, which report directly to the Deputy High Commissioner, handle core management, planning, coordination and outreach functions.


    The High Commissioner for Human Rights is the principal human rights official of the United Nations. The High Commissioner heads OHCHR and spearheads the United Nations’ human rights efforts.

    Source: Souliga Newsday