PHILIPSBURG:--- The Ombuds institutions of the Kingdom of the Netherlands recently met in Aruba for their annual meeting. One of the topics discussed during the meeting was the Aruban Ombudsman. The process to appoint the Aruban Ombudsman is in an advanced stage and an appointment is expected during the first quarter of 2024. Another important subject that was deliberated upon is the existing challenges the countries face regarding undocumented immigrants. The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Haiti and the interrelated detention and forced repatriation are especially a concern. In this regard, it is important to recall the statement of support issued by the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) in May of this year for the Ombudsman (Office for the Protection of the Citizen) of Haiti. In said letter the IOI expressed its concern about the acts of violence that have been taking place, particularly the acts of looting, vandalism, arson, and murders recorded both in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince and in other regions of the country during the last months.
The IOI’s 13th World Conference which will be hosted by the National Ombudsman of the Netherlands in the Hague from May 13-17, 2024 was also discussed. The annual meeting was followed by presentations, by the three Ombudspersons, at the University of Aruba to law students and other legal professionals. The Ombudsman of Curaçao, Keursly Concincion, on the occasion of World Children’s Day, spoke on the protection of the child against violence, abuse, and neglect. The Ombudsman of Sint Maarten addressed complaint handling and the standards of proper conduct and the National Ombudsman, Reiner van Zutphen, presented on the subject of the Venice Principles and the role of the Ombudsman in a democratic system of government. The Venice Principles are the codification of a set of constitutional and legal principles specifically devoted to the institution of the Ombudsman established by the Venice Commission (European Commission for Democracy through Law), which is an advisory body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts in the field of constitutional law.
During the visit to Aruba, the Ombudsmen also met with His Excellency the Governor of Aruba, Alphonso Boekhoudt, and the Honourable Prime Minister of Aruba, Ms. Evelyn Wever-Croes.