DH | Immigrants on hunger strike detained for prolonged period

a group of 12 Venezuelans locked up at the so-called foreigners’ barracks at the Curaçao SDKK prison had gone on a hunger strike mid-January.| Persbureau Curacao

THE HAGUE–The group of Venezuelan undocumented immigrants detained in Curaçao and on a hunger strike have indeed been locked up for a prolonged period, but they are receiving the necessary medical care.

Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops stated this earlier this week in his response to written questions submitted by member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Nevin Özütok of the green left party GroenLinks.

Özütok submitted questions on January 24, 2020, in relation to media reports that a group of 12 Venezuelans locked up at the so-called foreigners’ barracks at the Curaçao SDKK prison had gone on a hunger strike mid-January. Özütok inquired about the group’s health situation and whether they received medical care.

Minister Knops stated that the Curaçao authorities had assured him that the group in question received medical care and that the medical situation of these persons was good. He said that local authorities had also informed him that talks were ongoing to see whether part of the group can be relocated elsewhere. Medical care is an important issue in these talks.

Curaçao authorities confirmed reports that the Venezuelans in question had been detained at the foreigners’ barracks for more than eight months. A number of women from this group have been taken to a separate block at the SDKK prison.

This cell block has been indicated as a holding area for undocumented persons. Knops said the authorities have assured him that the women cannot get in contact with the regular inmates. The male hunger strikers are all detained at the foreigners’ barracks.

Regarding the prolonged period that the Venezuelans have been detained, Knops explained that it was up to the Curaçao authorities and the Court to, in possible cases, determine to what extent the circumstances of detained foreigners were in violation of national or international obligations, and whether they were rightfully detained and/or expelled.

He stated that he has been in touch with the Curaçao Minister of Justice about the prolonged detention of undocumented foreigners. He added that the Dutch government already assists with improving the system of handling (undocumented) immigrants as well as the material and immaterial conditions at the foreigners’ barracks.

Bron; Daily Herald

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