On the proposal of Minister De Jonge of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Council of Ministers has decided that equal treatment laws should henceforth also apply to Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba. This means that residents of the BES islands, who feel discriminated against on any ground whatsoever (gender, age, origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, etc.) can also invoke this law. They can also report to a new anti-discrimination facility BES and ask for free help and advice. Finally, they can go to the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights for a judgment in their case.
Minister De Jonge: “It’s high time we took this step. Equal treatment is a fundamental right. It is stated in Article 1 of our Constitution. So it is good and logical that these equal treatment laws, which are an elaboration of this, will apply to the whole of the Netherlands.”
State Secretary Van Huffelen (Kingdom Relations and Digitalisation): “We previously commissioned a thorough exploration that showed that there is broad support for this step on the islands. The executive councils of Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius urged me to quickly introduce and implement the equal treatment laws. That’s what we’re going to do now.”
Citizens and businesses were able to give their opinions on the proposal via internet consultation. The input has been incorporated into a new version of the bill, which the government will now submit to the Council of State and which will then be sent to the House of Representatives. The bill is scheduled to enter into force in 2025.