Compulsory qualification and requalification
Courses in which domestic violence is addressed
Chief Public Prosecutor
ORV, KPC, special investigation unit (Landsrecherche Curaçao), Interpol, Customs
Instructions on Relational Violence (2017.01)
ORV, KPC, special investigation unit (Landsrecherche Curaçao), Interpol, Customs
Instructions on Relational Violence (2017.01)
Domestic violence awareness campaigns
137.The ‘Sendé Sendé’ campaign is run by the Ministry of Justice in collaboration with the Ministries of Social Development, Labour and Welfare (SOAW), Health, Environment and Nature (GMN), and Education, Science, Culture and Sport (OWCS). This is an ongoing project. Videos were created during the 2021–2022 school year.
138.The weekly radio programme ‘Hustisia, seguridad i abo’ raises public awareness of the support available to people dealing with violence, stress, etc. The programme shares information about the type of support available and the organisations offering it, and contact details for these organisations (phone and WhatsApp).
139.The Restorative Justice working group runs an awareness campaign for schools called ‘Legumai beef, por otro’.
140.The Ministry of Justice is setting up a central reporting centre and overseeing the amalgamation of the various implementing organisation.
141.Family coaches’ expertise on system-oriented working has been improved by training 10 professional family coaches to provide intensive child development support at home (Intensieve Pedagogische Thuishulp, IPT) (SOAW, AJJC, Skuchami mental healthcare organisation).
142.Regarding offender treatment in prison (Restorative Justice), a new way of offering offenders’ assistance training has been developed (Veiligheidshuis).
143.The government of Curaçao, recognising the severity of the problems of domestic violence and child abuse, has continued to step up its efforts to tackle/eradicate domestic violence, gender-based violence and child abuse.
144.In 2018 the government, in keeping with the prioritisation of the protection of victims of domestic violence and child abuse, issued national decrees setting up an Interministerial Working Group to coordinate the implementation of the National Plan against Violence at governmental level and established a Permanent Committee at government and non-governmental organisation level to supervise the implementation of the National Plan against Domestic Violence and Child Abuse.
145.The latter plan is aimed, in line with the National Plan against Violence, at ensuring that the population receives sufficient information and appropriate protection, specifically regarding violence against children and domestic/relational violence, while ensuring full compliance with relevant treaties and legislation in part by increasing or improving prevention, identifying and preventing violence, improving aid delivery and providing adequate aftercare.
146.A research project to determine what is needed to set up and operate a structured inter-island system of shelters for victims of violence was proposed in 2018/2019. Research began in July 2020 and was completed in July 2021. The topics covered included legislation, social security and the costs involved in protecting victims. The study also looked at uniform step-by-step plans (protocols), including a risk assessment tool, for sending victims to another (Dutch) island or the Netherlands.
147.The Procurator-General’s Instructions on Relational Violence (‘Aanwijzing relationeel geweld’), containing guidance for the police and the justice system on how to deal with interpersonal (domestic) violence, were updated in 2020.
148.In October 2020, the police force (which falls under the Ministry of Justice) opened a new and improved centre for sexual offences where the sexual offences unit is now housed. The centre enables the police force to provide optimised care for victims of sexual offences and prioritise their rights. It also houses the office of the police doctor, where victims can be medically examined with due care for their privacy.
149.Another priority for the government is the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. To this end the University of Curaçao was given the task of researching what is needed for the country to be able to ratify and start implementing the Convention. Based on the conclusions of the research and taking into account the limited capacity and resources of the government, it hopes to have ratified the Convention by 2025.
Training by and cooperation with regional and international organisations
150.During the COVID-19 pandemic, the IOM, UNHCR and UNFPA supported and − continue to support − the Curaçao government and local NGOs in their efforts to assist the undocumented migrants on the island and victims of child abuse and domestic violence who need food and shelter.
151.In 2021 UNHCR provided operational support to a local shelter that houses migrants and victims of gender-based violence and child abuse.
152.UNFPA executed a 60-day project with emergency funding to sustain efforts by the government to help Venezuelan refugees who are victims of gender-based violence. This included working to improve the referral pathways, providing capacity training for first responders and sending personal protective equipment (PPE), reproductive health kits (contraceptives and medicine) to participating partners on the island.
153.The government of Curaçao is grateful for the support and cooperation it is receiving from the international community for capacity training and the development and implementation of its national policies on the rights of the child and women’s rights.
154.The government of Curaçao, in cooperation with UNICEF, has secured funds through the EU to develop a training and awareness toolkit about child protection as part of its focus on child protection. UNICEF has also secured funds from the ‘Postcode Loterij’ for technical support for the development and implementation of a child protection code.
155.Furthermore, local government and non-governmental organisations have been building organisational and personnel capacity with regard to victims of abuse and their rights, and training workers to deal with perpetrators of violence through offenders’ assistance training.
156.A prosecutor specialised in domestic violence cases has been designated to deal with their prosecution. It is estimated that since the introduction of the COVID-19 measures in mid-March 2020 approximately 4,500 people have lost their jobs. During this period, the economy has deteriorated and many people have suffered loss of income. These factors have caused a great deal of stress and anxiety in the relational domain. As a result the number of cases of relational violence is expected to increase.
157.The Public Prosecutor’s Office will continue to implement the Instructions on Relational Violence. Cases can be brought to court or the public prosecutor can decide to impose a penalty, for example a course in aggression management. Cases can be brought to court but it is also possible to impose a suspended sentence. Restorative mediation is also a settlement option if both parties agree. An appropriate intervention, which benefits both the offender and the victim, is essential for the victim’s sense of security
158.The Public Prosecutor, the Probation Service, the police and Victim Support Curaçao consult weekly to assess domestic violence cases and arrive at the best possible solution for the parties involved. The victim can be given a place in a women’s shelter, if necessary for her own protection.
159.The Public Prosecutor’s Office is also involved in an awareness campaign in which multidisciplinary teams visit schools and give young adolescents, especially girls, advice on a variety of themes including sexuality, violence and reporting (sexual) violence to the authorities.
Human trafficking and sexual exploitation
160.The prosecution of human trafficking is a priority theme. Human trafficking is punishable under article 2:239 of the Curaçao Criminal Code. Each year, the Public Prosecutor, together with the Ministry of Justice and other relevant stakeholders, such as Victim Support Curaçao, fills out the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report and formulates policy on this theme. The Public Prosecutor’s Office collaborated with the Ministry of Justice on a public awareness campaign regarding human trafficking.
161.Potential human trafficking cases are investigated swiftly by the police force and suspects are swiftly brought to trial. Since 2014, many criminal investigations and prosecutions regarding human trafficking, including cases of sexual exploitation of women, were conducted.
162.In 2021 a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), coordinated by the National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator for Curaçao, was implemented. This document is intended to help stakeholders, including the Public Prosecutor’s Office, provide support and protection to victim of human trafficking. This referral mechanism replaces the guidance issued in 2015 and allows stakeholders to respond promptly and adequately to human trafficking and people smuggling situations.
163.Victims of human trafficking who wish to lodge a criminal complaint and cooperate in the criminal investigation are given a temporary residence permit and will not be deported. The Public Prosecutor’s Office continues to regard this type of crime as a priority and has designated a prosecutor who is specialised in crimes regarding human trafficking.
164.Policy developments on human trafficking and people smuggling since 2017:
(a)A new website about human trafficking/people smuggling has been launched (www.humantraffickingpreventioncuracao.com);
(b)Guidance has been published on dealing with victims of human trafficking/people smuggling;
(c)The ACTPOL electronic registration system includes a human trafficking/people smuggling register;
(d)Amendments have been made to the Kingdom-wide MoU on human trafficking and to the procedures for tackling human trafficking/people smuggling;
(e)At least three criminal investigations into cases of human trafficking/people smuggling should be conducted every year.
Participation in political and public life
Immigration and integration
165.The Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Geneva, July 1951) does not apply to Curaçao. However, protection can be invoked under article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Unaccompanied minors are taken into the government’s care and placed in local facilities, and special court proceedings are initiated.
166.If an unaccompanied minor’s parents can be traced in their country of origin, arrangements are made for family reunification in the country of origin. If the parents in the country of origin do not have any official documents, they must contact the authorities in their country in order to be reunited with their child.
167.The policy on undocumented minor migrants sets out that, working with Victim Support Curaçao and the Ministry of Social Development, Labour and Welfare, a suitable place will be found in one of the reception centres. This place will be available until the minor can return to their country of origin. If informal care is available, the undocumented migrant family can be reunited at a verified address after the investigation.
168. An obligation to report to the authorities is imposed on the family and the necessary safeguards are put in place.
169.The policy on undocumented migrant children sets out that a place will be arranged for accompanied minors in a reception centre, where they can remain until they can return to their country of origin.
170.If informal care is available, the undocumented migrant family can move to a verified address after the investigation. An obligation to report to the authorities is imposed on the family. Unaccompanied minors are investigated and are placed with family members at a verified address. An obligation to report to the authorities is imposed and the necessary safeguards are put in place. If a place is available, an organisation is engaged to arrange a voluntary placement.
171.With the help of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), cases in which Article 3 of the ECHR is invoked are fast-tracked.
172.It is now possible for undocumented migrant minors who have lived in Curaçao for a considerable amount of time to get a residence permit.
173.The construction of a new reception centre for undocumented migrants is almost completed.
174.People who entered Curaçao legally but remained in the country after their date of return (so-called stay-overs) and who do not pose a threat to public policy or internal security, and can provide proof of sufficient means of subsistence and can be of added value to the country’s society are given the opportunity to integrate in Curaçao through the Responsible Integration (‘Verantwoord Inburgeren’) programme. This applies to people who entered the country between 22 March 2022 and 22 September 2021. The programme was extended to December 2021.
175.In 2019, 25 undocumented migrants escaped from the barracks where they were being held. In 2020, this figure was 17, with a further nine attempting to do the same.
Disadvantaged groups of women
Measures taken by the Curaçao Centre for Correction and Detention (Sentro di Detenshon i Korekshon Kòrsou, SDKK) prison regarding LGBTI prisoners (both irregular migrants and prisoners from Curaçao)
176.As far as possible, LGBTI people are placed in one-person cells in a block where their safety and mental wellbeing can be monitored more easily. If their psychiatric state of mind so requires, a prisoner can also be placed in the Forensic Observation and Treatment Unit.
177.Individuals who identify as female are placed in the women’s wing, with due care and attention for safety and mental wellbeing. A segregation cell is available in the women’s wing if required.
178.Segregation cells are also available in the barracks for undocumented migrants, which can be used if an individual needs to be separated (segregated) from others.
179.The visiting regime for foreign prisoners is the same as for local prisoners.
180.After a foreign prisoner has served their sentence, the SDKK receives a removal decision from the Procurator-General. The prisoner is then transferred to the facilities for undocumented migrants.
181.Undocumented migrants are placed in the ‘foreigners barracks’ on the grounds of the SDKK. This location was designated by ministerial order as accommodation for undocumented migrants.
182.The women’s wing at the SDKK is a high-security wing.
183.Undocumented migrants are given food and any necessary medical treatment. The facilities for undocumented migrants are intended in principle for short-term occupation. The aim is to arrange for them to return to their country of origin as soon as possible.
184.In principle, the relatives or acquaintances of an undocumented migrant bear the cost of purchasing a ticket for the migrant’s return to their country of origin. However, if necessary, the government pays for the ticket.
185.The current state of the country does not allow Curaçao to open its borders to all undocumented migrants without consideration to its own community, immigration laws, and not least its current economic and financial situation.