WILLEMSTAD--Children born out of wedlock and who are unrecognized by their father may soon get more rights, thanks to an amendment in the Civil Code that parliament will handle Tuesday in a Central Committee meeting.
This amendment, when adopted by parliament, will give unacknowledged children the right to apply for a "Declaration of Paternity" that will allow them to have a father listed on their birth certificate. However, the amendment will exclude them from claiming any inheritance if the father is deceased.
This amendment will bring the Netherlands Antilles in line with most European and Caribbean countries that have already made this provision for unacknowledged children under the "status of children" or similar acts, outgoing president of parliament Pedro Atacho told the press Wednesday via phone.
Similar legislation, dating back to the late 1970s, exists in Anguilla, St. Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua, Trinidad and Guyana among others.
A total of 15,268 children were born on Curaçao from 2000 to 2006. Of this, 3,898 children were "without a father" meaning their birth certificate stated father unknown because they were not acknowledged for various reasons.
That number of unacknowledged children accounts for 25 per cent of the total births on Curaçao. "This means that in every 2,000 babies born on Curacao annually, 1,000 were recognized, 500 were the product of a marriage and another 500 were born without a father recognizing them," Atacho said.
Breakdown of birth figures for the other four Antillean islands, which include St. Maarten, will be presented to parliament in "due time."
The absence of legislation to assist unacknowledged children is considered a violation of the International Treaty on Civil and Political Rights and the Treaty on Human Rights. "The child without a father is not to be blamed," Atacho said.
Also on Tuesday afternoon, Finance Minister Ersilia de Lannooy will present her proposal for the transfer of share of the Curaçao Housing Foundation to the Island Government to the Central Committee.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Central Committee of Parliament will also meet with school boards on Curaçao in a continuing session on youth aggression especially in and around schools. The sessions requested by the PAR faction. Several other sessions have already been held with the police, public prosecutors and other related officials on this issue.