Dutch PM Mark Rutte Speaks on the Impact of Slavery During His Visit to Suriname

Dutch PM Mark Rutte Speaks on the Impact of Slavery as He Ends His Visit to Suriname
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Prime Minister of The Netherlands, Mark Rutte has ended a two-day official visit to Suriname after indicating that he used the visit to learn more about the social impact of slavery on the Dutch-speaking country.

“Recognition is the beginning of our present. I hope to learn more about the social impact of this visit. I want to hear first-hand what the slavery past means today for the different population groups in Suriname,” said Rutte.

Rutte told the National Assembly that slavery was an inhumane system and there was need to recognize the system more than 150 years later.

“Recognition of the horrible suffering inflicted on the enslaved, acknowledgment of the struggle and resistance that there was and of course recognition of the social impact of the period of slavery in our present,” said Rutte.

“I want to understand the impact of the past so that the recognition that needs to come can be as healing and reconciling as possible. That is my wish and that of the entire Dutch government,” said Rutte.

National Assembly chairman, Marinus Bee, in his speech said slavery remains a thorny point with the Kingdom of the Netherlands still failing to make an official apology for the suffering caused by history.

Bee pointed out that, despite the end of the colonial era, Suriname is treated almost like a stepmother when trying to enter the Netherlands.

“It seems nowadays more the rule than the exception that Surinamese are arbitrarily denied entry into Dutch territory without giving a thorough reason for rejecting the required visas for the Schengen area,” said Bee, adding that Parliament cannot escape the impression that the criteria used in the allocation agreement are of no added value in contemporary decision-making.

Rutte said the relationship between the Netherlands and Suriname has been disrupted at government level for too long and that a delegation of private sector officials underlines his desire to improve relations between the two countries.

“We work together and look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.”

In recent years, the Netherlands and Suriname have been working together through the Makandra program in which various projects are carried out in Suriname.

Mark Rutte told the National assembly that the budget will be increased by four million Euros to ten million expanding programs in education and water management.

“In this way, we give substance to the renewed bilateral relationship with each other,” Rutte stated.


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