The Translators’ Network for Linguistic Diversity

SOUTH OF THE BORDER  (Latin America and the Caribbean)
IMPERIUM  (Global Issues)
THE LAND OF CANAAN  (Palestine, Israel)
UMMA  (Arab World, Islam)
IN THE BELLY OF THE WHALE  (Activism in the Imperialist Metropolis)
THE MOTHER CONTINENT  (Africa, Indian Ocean)

TYPHOON ZONE  (Asia, Pacific Basin)
WITH A K AS IN KALVELLIDO (Diary of a Proletarian Cartoonist)
STORMING BRAINS  (Culture, Communication)
TLAXCALA'S REFERENCE ZONE  (Glossaries, Dictionaries, Maps)

Español Français English Deutsch Português Italiano Català
عربي Svenska فارسی Ελληνικά русски TAMAZIGHT OTHER LANGUAGES

Referendum mark people’s victory in anti-colonial struggle in Curaçao







In the referendum of May 15 the people of Curaçao booked a tremendous victory in the struggle for independence and national liberation when 48% voted NO to the recolonization proposed by the Dutch and the local government. The statement to which NO or yes could be replied was: : I approve the results of Round Table Conference to reach the status of an Autonomous Curaçao within the Kingdom. The 48% who refused to give back to the colonial power vital areas such as justice, public finances, good governance, police force – a policy described by experts as ‘colonialism by consent’-thus minimizing the internal self government of the islands, are the true winners of the referendum, considering the fact that all public funds were used by the government to promote the yes option. If the means had been proportionally shared the 52% in favour of yes, the official winning option, would not have won. One third of those who could vote did not cast their vote. (67% voters) The outcome of the referendum can only be described as a powerful statement of the people that, in the national context of heavy media manipulation, illimited government and private sector funds for the yes propaganda machine, interference of the Dutch government in the process in complete violation of international laws and the intimidation of the people that their material securities would be terminated if the package would be refused. The recolonization project has been refused by almost half of the population!  The results per voting centre show that in 58 of the 106 electoral centers the NO option scored higher than the yes option that claimed 48 centres. The message is loud and clear: the proposal of the Dutch and local government was not shared in spite of all the resourceful Dutch brought in or living on the island that tipped the balance towards the narrow 52% majority in favour of yes. In one voting centre located in the upper class neighbourhood of Brakkeput Ariba in the east side of the island and inhabited by mostly wealthy Dutch, of the 2007 people who could vote 1296 voted for yes and 156 for NO.

The author casting vote on May 15

Like most of our Caribbean islands, Curaçao is able to be self-reliant. A solid Caribbean and Latin American project of cooperation, mutual support, use of our many resources for the benefit of our peoples will be part of the road towards independence which is coming, whether the colonial forces like it or not. Curaçao is going to assume its role among the vast majority of independent nations of the earth. We demand the Dutch and the local government respect the inalienable right of the Curaçao people to self-determination and to the establishment of an independent State.

As part of our two pronged strategy to win both national and international forces for the support of our struggle, the chair of the Independence Party of Curaçao, attended only two days from the referendum the Regional Seminar of May 12-14 2009 of the United Nations Decolonization Committee held in St. Kitts. In our appeal presented to chair Dr. Marty Natalegawa, members of the Committee, observers, experts and others – although not officially invited because Curaçao has been taken off the list of the Decolonization Committee for having internal self-government-the Independence Party requests the Committee to relist Curaçao in order to treat its case according to its reality: a Dutch colony; condemn violation by the Dutch government of international law, the Kingdom Charter, international covenants and UN Resolutions on self determination; present the case of Curaçao in the June meeting of the Committee in New York and decree a third decade for the decolonization of the remaining Caribbean and other colonies. (See attached appeal). Our presence in St. Kitts was covered by both Kittitian and Curaçaoan media.

The author, 4th from left, at the voting centre with supporters and Diputado Laureano Seijas (far right) of Parlatino, Parlamento Latinoamericano

We also thank the Parlatino (Latin American Parliament) for delegating Deputy Laureano Seijas as an international observer to the referendum. Touring the island on referendum day Member of Parliament Seijas was able to speak with the people at voting centres and in neighbourhoods, hear their concerns with regards to their lands being taken from them, their beaches closed for them by resort developers, unemployment raising, causing forced migration to the Netherlands and inadequate education for their children. See pictures of Deputy Seijas at the Santa Maria voting centre of Sint Joris College and at the Goiloschool where Joceline Clemencia voted surrounded by party members wearing our red and white T­shirt with the text: Pasó un mama no ke mira su yu sufri. Ta basta awor. NO! (Because mothers don’t want to see their children suffer anymore. Enough. NO!), one of the most worn T-shirts during the campaign, as well as our posters and flags, spotted everywhere on the island.

Party members and supporters outside voting centre

We have every reason to conclude that we have the victory of the May 15 referendum in spite of the means. And that we as a people have conquered our fears to claim our right of self-determination. To those Brothers and Sisters who did not vote, we say we know that the next time they will assume their responsibility based on our proposal and our alternative which we will present and discuss with them. We need all of our people for all of our victories! Let us build strong alliances with the workers, the youth, the women, farmers and all of the forces that love our country and oppose foreign domination of Curaçao. Let us strengthen our ties with the people of the other islands of the Antilles: Bonaire, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius, Aruba. We want to thank all of our friends, home and abroad who contributed in this significant step towards our national liberation. Long live the people of Curaçao! Long live the people of the Caribbean and Latin America! Long live the peoples of the world!

On behalf of the   Independence Party of Curaçao            
Joceline Clemencia, Chair                       



Chairman, Special Committee on Decolonization Dr. Raden Mohammad Marty Muliana Natalegawa Department for General Assembly and Conference Management
United Nations
New York, NY 10017

May 15th 2009 there will the 3rd referendum (November 1993, April 2005) in Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles related to the political status of the island that forms part of the Dutch Kingdom along with the islands Bonaire, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius, Saba, Aruba. Aruba separated in 1986 from the other islands and will not be included in this paper.


In fact the referendum question (which is not a question, but a statement to be affirmed) to be answered with yes or no in the referendum is as follows: I approve the results of Round Table Conference to reach the status of an Autonomous Curaçao within the Kingdom. The formulation of the question has been contested by professionals, whose objections were dismissed by the government.

This document deals with the national question in the Netherlands Antilles: actuality and history of Dutch colonial control, the violation of international and national laws by the Netherlands and the right of the people of Curaçao to be heard by the Decolonization Committee of the United Nations in its regional seminar on 12-14 May 2009 in St. Kitts and Nevis. The violations regard -The Charter of the United Nations -The Universal Declaration of Human Rights -The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) -The United Nations Resolutions on decolonization


In 1954 the Kingdom Charter that granted internal self government to the Dutch colonies the Netherlands Antilles (Curaçao, Bonaire, Aruba, St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius) and Surinam was signed. The colony had been under Dutch rule since 1634. In 1948 the status of Dutch colony of Indonesia was terminated after Holland violently opposing the independence struggle. According to chapter XI, article 73 of the UN Charter colonial powers had the obligation to report on the advancement of the decolonization process in their territories. The General Assembly of the UN adopted a very critical position towards the Dutch arguments that – based on the Kingdom Charter –the process of colonialism had ended in its territories and that it should be therefore absolved from the plight to report on the decolonization process in the Caribbean. The doubts of the Assembly on the legitimacy of the document as truly an implementation of self determination of the peoples of the Netherlands Antilles and Surinam manifested in the voting; a small minority of 21 approved the Charter, 10 rejected it and 33 were votes of abstention (Session 557 Resolution 945 X, Dec. 15 1955). 1 As of that moment the Netherlands Antilles and Surinam became self-governing territories and were removed from the UN list of non-self-governing territories. Surinam became an independent state in 1975.


The same doubts as expressed through the UN vote are still valid today as the Dutch government proceeded through the years to minimize the internal self government of the islands as multiple reports show 2, culminating in 2006 when it co-signed with the Antillean government the agreement the Final Declaration (Nov. 12, 2008) that puts back under direct control of the Dutch administration the areas of justice, public finances, good governance and police force, all pertaining formerly to jurisdiction of the local government and all of which are covertly being executed already. In the Round Table Conference (Dec. 2008) between the government of the two countries, the Dutch government coupled -in straight violation of the UN Resolution 1514 (Dec. 15, 1960)3 -the right of self determination to the issue of the national Antillean debt (US 2500 million). The violation of the Kingdom Charter (paragraph 4, article 4: autonomy to deal with internal affairs, art. 148, 149) through the Final Declaration is of such a magnitude that it nullifies the whole agreement, its aspirations and its spirit violating constitutional rules of the Netherlands Antilles, namely that the process of giving back authority over internal affairs to the government of Holland should be through the parliament.

VIOLATION CHARTER UNITED NATIONS AND RIGHT OF SELF-DETERMINATION -Fragmentation The Netherlands executed the fragmentation of the territory: as of 2010 the country Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist. It separated the smaller islands (Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius) from Curaçao and St. Martin and determined that the larger islands will be “autonomous countries within the kingdom”. The smaller ones have been integrated in Holland as municipalities, but since the Dutch constitution does not acknowledge municipalities outside the European territory, they were turned into “public organs”, but without the same rights as Dutch citizen living in the European part of the kingdom. In 2010 the kingdom will consist of the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Martin. Article 73 of the Charter states:

6. Any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

- Exchange self-determination for finances. In the Kingdom New Style the Dutch administration will pay the national debt of the Netherlands Antilles (US 2.5 billion) in exchange for part of the self-determination and if severe conditions are met. UN resolution: 1960 1514

“Inadequacy of political, economic, social or educational preparedness should never serve as a pretext for delaying independence.”

-Introduction of a body of consensus laws that bypass the limited autonomy granted in the Kingdom Charter of 1954.

-Intervention in referendum. Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende declared on several occasions that whatever the outcome of the referendum would be, his government would continue to dismantle the country Netherlands Antilles and proceed with the integration of the smaller islands in Holland. Junior minister in charge of the colonies Ank Bijleveld visited the islands on at least five occasions in the past months to inaugurate social projects and promise finances for community projects, a privilege these islands have not enjoyed in the past decades.

The author (far right) with UN Decolonization Comitteee expert Dr. Carlyle Corbin (centre) and Anneke Wilson (Pan American Health Organization-PAHO)

VIOLATION INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (ICESCR, New York 16-12-1966). Signed also by the Netherlands is consistently violated considering the differences between the economic, social, cultural level of wellbeing in the Netherlands vs the Netherlands Antilles, despite being summoned by the UN to eliminate the discrepancies between the two parts of the kingdom. The ICESCR declares: “The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.” -Recognizing that, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ideal of free human beings enjoying freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his economic, social and cultural rights, as well as his civil and political rights.

Article 1:

1                    All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

2                    All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.

In contrast to these clauses the islands experienced from Holland the destabilization the economy, the demonization and incarceration of opposition leaders, criminalization the country through international drug image profiling and accusations of corruption.


» With the Dutch history of denying people in territories it controls the right to exercise their self determination, it’s imperative for the UN Decolonization Committee to revise the removal of the Netherlands Antilles from the list of non-self-governing territories. » In defiance of international law the Dutch government after 5 centuries of colonial presence in the Caribbean and 55 years of a much disputed Kingdom Charter, has not only not promoted the decolonization of the territories, but is executing now the recolonization, the paradigm shift being described as from “principle based relationship” to “rule based relationship” or Kingdom New Style with more Dutch rules, involvement, control and supervision.

» The government of the Dutch Kingdom has de jure and de facto failed since 1954 to grant the economic, social, political, cultural, spiritual development to the islands of the Netherlands Antilles according to the spirit and resolutions of the United Nations; » The Netherlands Antilles have been incorrectly removed from the list of non self-governing territories of the Decolonization Committee of the United Nations. » The Netherlands Antilles mistakenly appear on the list of self-governing territories. This calls for a revision, considering the reversing of the self internal government process as executed by the Dutch government » Based on all the above, there is legal ground to state that both international law as national have been violated by the Dutch government and the Independence Party calls for the Committee. To sanction this policy. » A body of international observers should be present in Curaçao to guarantee a free and transparent referendum considering anti-democratic experiences in former referenda. » The recent referendum that gave France the victory of integrating Mayotte against the will of the people, showed a colonial power in flagrant violation of numerous UN resolutions. The recolonization policy of Dutch government should be stopped to avoid the same thing in Curaçao.


The Independence Party of Curaçao proceeds to: -request Chairman Dr. Natalegawa to put on the agenda of the seminar of the Committee to be held in St. Kitts and Nevis on May 12-14 of this year the issue of decolonization of Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles. -urgently request the Distinguished Members of the Decolonization Committee of the United Nations in its Second Decade of Eradication of Colonialism to invite a representative of the mentioned party to address the seminar of the Committee to be held in St. Kitts and Nevis on May 12-14 of this year in order to receive a correct report of the internal situation of the Netherlands Antilles based on Resolution 55/146 (55 ft Session, agenda item 18, 83rd Plenary meeting, Dec.8, 2000) of the General Assembly of the UN Committee on the Second International decade for the Eradication of Colonialism: “Invites Member States, specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, and other governmental and non­governmental organizations, actively to support and participate in the implementation of the plan of action during the Second International Decade.

-urgently request the Distinguished Members of the Decolonization Committee of the United Nations in its Second Decade of Eradication of Colonialism to present the case of the Netherlands Antilles in the June 2009 assembly in New York for revision and be appointed as a non-self governing territory

-request the Committee to decree a third Decade to attend the decolonization of the remaining colonies in the Caribbean (Netherlands Antilles, Montserrat, Anguilla, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guyana, French St. Martin, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands and other parts of the world and/or the 16 territories that remain on the list of the UN Decolonization Committee in order to effectively grant the right of self determination to this territories.

With much respect
Drs. Joceline Andrea Clemencia
Chair Independence Party of Curaçao



1 In 1962 (UN Resolution 2504) the General Assembly summoned the Netherlands to grant Papua New Guinea a referendum and took Irian Barat under UN control. In 1963 the referendum took place and in Irian Barat became part of Indonesia in 1969.

2Jessurun’s 2004 report Governmental and Financial relations, Partners in the kingdom 2006, Hirsch Ballin’s 1990: Draft of a commonwealth constitution for the kingdom of the Netherlands. Council of State’s Advice future political relations (06), Central Bank’s Advantages & disadvantages options Central Bank (06); Working group’s General Financial Position (06)

3 No social, economic, cultural or other circumstances may be used to impede a people to make use of their right of self determination


Source: the author

Original article published in May 2009

About the author

Joceline Clemencia is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This artcile may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source and author are cited.

URL of this article on Tlaxcala:




SOUTH OF THE BORDER : 29/05/2009