Children’s Ombudsman sets off on islands visit

THE HAGUE–Children’s Ombudsman Margrite Kalverboer during her visit to Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba this week and next week wants to hear from children on the islands how they experience life and where things could be improved.

Kalverboer will start her first working visit in Bonaire today, Thursday. She will be in Saba this Sunday and Monday, and end her visit to the Caribbean Netherlands with three days in Statia next week – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

On all three islands, the Children’s Ombudsman will visit primary and secondary schools, and hold consultation hours where children can share their stories, concerns and complaints. This is Kalverboer’s first visit to the islands since her appointment in April this year.

The visit is part of Kalverboer’s Children’s Right Tour which she started in the Netherlands in September. She visited schools, youth care institutions, community centres and a children’s hospital, spoke with hundreds of children and youngsters, including victims of abuse, children with divorced parents, children who don’t attend school, refugee children and children who can’t live at home.

The objective of this tour is to hear from the young people where, in their opinion, the Children’s Ombudsman should set her priorities. The Children’s Ombudsman sees to it that children’s rights in the Netherlands and the Caribbean Netherlands are lived up to by the governments, in education, youth care organisations and day care facilities.

Kalverboer will arrive in Saba on Sunday where in the afternoon she will attend the opening of the Children’s Rights Week in Cove Bay. On Monday she will speak with children and youngsters at the Sacred Heart School and the Saba Comprehensive School. She will also be at the Children’s Rights Expo at the Eugenius Johnson Community Centre on Monday.

The Children’s Ombudsman will be in Statia November 22, 23 and 24. On Tuesday afternoon, November 22, she will be present at the consultation hour of National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen and his staff at the St. Eustatius Public Library. The following day, November 23, she will visit several schools on the island.

“I am the Children’s Ombudsman for children and youngsters in the Netherlands, so also for those living in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. In order to do my job as best as I can, I want to hear from the children and youngsters themselves how they experience their life, what is going well, and where things can be improved,” said Kalverboer.

The Children’s Ombudsman said she would also like to hear the views of professionals as this would contribute to acquiring a good impression of the way young people grow up on the islands and how children’s rights are dealt with. “In September and October I have spoken with hundreds of children and youngsters in the Netherlands. Now it is time for those living on the islands,” Kalverboer said.

To make it easier for the young people to give their opinion, the Children’s Ombudsman has placed a questionnaire online which is available until November 27. This questionnaire for children eight to 18 years of age can be found on

Source: The Daily Herald