GENEVA, Switzerland–The country’s strides in combating human trafficking, tackling the financing of terrorism and money laundering and general social developments have been highlighted at the current session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) being held in the United Nations (UN) Office in Geneva, Switzerland.
Justice Minister Rafael Boasman is representing St. Maarten along with his Chef de Cabinet Len Dijkstra and Patrice Gumbs Jr., Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Foreign Relations. They form part of the Kingdom delegation that includes outgoing Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk, Minister Plenipotentiary of Aruba in The Hague Juan David Yrausquin, and Policy Advisor at the Department of Foreign Affairs of Curaçao Miloushka Sboui-Racamy.
The UPR is a review of the human rights record of all UN member states, in this case the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Kingdom, and therefore St. Maarten, is party to a number of Human Rights Treaties. The review allows states, in the report that each is obligated to submit to the United Nations, to highlight efforts made to ensure that human rights are safeguarded within its borders.
St. Maarten’s report underscored progress made in three specific areas, falling under two thematic headings. Under the themes legislation and judicial matters, St. Maarten highlighted the implementation of the new Penal Code and the new crimes it covers including financing of terrorism and money laundering.
St. Maarten also highlighted the progress made in combatting human trafficking and St. Maarten’s most recent ranking in tier one in the United States (US) Trafficking in Persons Report. This rank means that St. Maarten fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons. Under the thematic heading of social development, St. Maarten proudly presented the work it has undertaken in ensuring education for all, with the implementation of the law on compulsory education.
The top delegates defended the record of the Kingdom during the one-day public hearing in which the bulk of questions posed by UN member states were directed to the Netherlands. A large number of general questions to the Kingdom regarding pending ratifications, treaty reservations, and the Rights of the Child were also received by the delegation.
Boasman, in response to questions posed by Algeria, Australia, and the Republic of Korea, spoke about education access for disadvantaged children, human rights monitoring mechanisms, and adult and youth detention facilities. He also highlighted the work of the Constitutional Court and the ongoing efforts at the Prison and the work of the Miss Lalie Center in the area of youth detention and rehabilitation.
Boasman now heads to The Hague to hold meetings with outgoing Dutch Justice Minister Stef Blok and other authorities about the prison and other matters. He is accompanied by Dijkstra.
Gumbs Jr. remains in Geneva for the rest of the week to attend technical meetings related to the UPR, including recommendations from other UN state parties and pledges to address matters raised during the hearing.