Girl at the carnaval

Dutch Caribbean


The six Dutch Caribbean islands are an eight to ten hour flight from Amsterdam. Children who grow up here are entitled to the same opportunities as children in the Netherlands. Yet, this is often different in practice.

Many children on these islands grow up in unsafe or unhealthy conditions. In parts of the Dutch Caribbean, there is a lot of poverty. Sometimes there is not enough money to buy clothes or (healthy) food and children go to school hungry. Data on children are limited in many areas, for example on youth care, child abuse and child-poverty.

UNICEF's work

UNICEF is committed to making sure that all children grow up healthy and safe. We want the children growing up in the Caribbean part of the Netherlands Kingdom to have the same opportunities as children in the European part. In the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF has been given an important mandate to monitor whether governments comply with the agreements in the Convention and to hold them accountable. As a result, UNICEF is an advocate for children's rights around the world. Also in the Caribbean part of the Dutch Kingdom. UNICEF the Netherlands contributes to this by monitoring the children's rights situation on the islands, advocacy, children's rights education and participation, and providing technical assistance.

Meisjes op schoolplein knuffelen

What do we want to achieve?

UNICEF wants children in the Caribbean part of the Dutch Kingdom to have the same opportunities as children in the European part. They are entitled to it.

UNICEF advocates, among other things, for better data registration. Data can show how the Dutch Caribbean children and young people are doing. We also lobby for a bigger investment in child protection so that children can grow up safely.

Status of the six islands

The Dutch Kingdom has a European and a Caribbean part. Bonaire, Sint Eustatius/Statia and Saba together with Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten form the Caribbean part, the Netherlands forms the European part. The Kingdom consists of four countries governed by its own government: the Netherlands, Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten. Bonaire, Statia and Saba are special municipalities of the Netherlands and together they are referred to as the Caribbean Netherlands, also known as the BES islands. The Dutch government, together with the governments of Curaçao, Aruba, St. Maarten and the public entities of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, is responsible for the children's rights situation within the Dutch Kingdom.