The National Democratic Party (NDP) faction declined Henk van der Zwan’s invitation to watch Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s presentation about the history of slavery today via live streaming. In a letter to the ambassador, group leader Rabin Parmessar claims: “Agreements with regard to the practice of slavery and indentured servitude in Suriname can only be reached through a bilateral procedure with all parties involved. Unfortunately, up until now, the Dutch government has unilaterally decided what actions are allowed and when they will occur.”
The NDP faction believes that Prime Minister Rutte’s answer on behalf of the government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has been taken in a biased manner. There hasn’t been any discussion with the Dutch government, the Surinamese government, or the Surinamese parliament on, among other things, the date, the complete procedure to determine a public response from the Dutch government, a repair program, etc. The NDP thinks the descendants of the enslaved and other civil society organizations in Suriname and the Netherlands will likely misunderstand the strategy of making amends for past slavery on December 19 rather than July 1, 2023.
The date is merely a symptom of the fact that the Netherlands appears to assume they can make decisions regarding their history of slavery in Suriname on their own. The side highlights that the perpetrator cannot decide on their own, without consulting the victims, what the restoration program will involve. Criminals can accept responsibility, express regret, and seek pardon. The entire process and the mending program can only be discussed in-depth with the victims’ consent. The letter states that it cannot be done by itself.
“For our part, we will continue to support the Surinamese procedures put in place to pursue restitution and recognition. In order to develop a suitable recovery program in both a material and immaterial sense, it is also crucial that we engage in an organized national dialogue with Indigenous peoples, people who were formerly enslaved, and all other social groups that have contributed to and wish to contribute in this regard.