Better protection against discrimination on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba

The cabinet decided on the 10th of November that equality legislation must also apply on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba from now on. This means residents of these islands who feel discriminated against on whatever grounds (gender, age, origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation etc.) may also have recourse to this legislation.

Saba Bonaire Sint Eustatius

They can also submit a complaint to a new BES anti-discrimination service and ask for free help and advice. Finally, they can ask the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (College voor de Rechten van de Mens) to rule on their case. 

Minister de Jonge, from the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Public Housing and Spatial Planning:

“This step is long overdue. Equal treatment is a constitutional right. It is mentioned in article 1 of our Constitution. Therefore, it is great (and logical) that these equality laws, which reflect this constitutional right, will apply throughout the Netherlands.”

State secretary Van Huffelen (Kingdom Relations and Digitalisation):

“We conducted a thorough Study in the past, which showed that there is widespread support for this step on the islands. At that moment, the Executive Councils of Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius called on me to quickly introduce and implement this equality legislation. And that is what we are now doing.”

What will happen next?

Civilians and companies were given the chance to share their opinions about this proposal via an online consultation. The responses were used to develop a new version of the proposal for the new law, which the cabinet will now send to the Council of State and then to the House of Representatives. The proposal for the new law is expected to come into force in 2025.