USM/SAFE Lecture on Human Rights

The University of St. Martin (USM) in collaboration with St. Maarten/St. Martin Alliance For Equality (SAFE) Foundation will be hosting a lecture on Human Rights on Wednesday December 10th, 7:30pm-9:00pm at USM. Lecturer for the evening will be Ms. Denise Vijber from the island of Curacao. Vijber, a cultural anthropologist and sociologist, worked for Community Development, Family and Humanitarian Affairs, heading up Women’s Desk for a time, before returning to Curacao, where she now studies law.

Vijber’s lecture will focus on human rights; what they are, how they originated and how applicable they are for situations on St. Maarten. She will specifically look at how human rights impact minority groups, locally, regionally and internationally. Vijber will also suggest ways forward for minority groups on the island.

SAFE is a non-profit LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender) foundation that is a member of the Pink Orange Alliance, which is an umbrella network for LGBT organizations from the islands of the former Netherlands Antilles (St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius, Curacao, Bonaire) and Aruba. Through the Pink Orange Alliance, SAFE is linked to COC, which is an LGBT advocacy group in The Netherlands.


The core objectives of SAFE are to promote the social acceptance and inclusion of LGBT people and to create an island free of stigma and discrimination towards them in particular, but also towards all people in general. SAFE also promotes personal empowerment by encouraging people to be aware of their sexuality, sexual identity and social situations. Finally SAFE offers support to LGBT people in general.


SAFE was symbolically incorporated on International Human Right’s Day, December 10, 2013. President of the foundation, Lysanne Charles – Arrindell explains that, “the incorporation date fell on International Human Rights Day in order to highlight the importance of equality and fair treatment for all people.  For the organization it is important to bring more awareness to International Human Rights Day, not just because of the anniversary of the organization, but because it is a concept that St. Maarten/St. Martin must begin to have more awareness of human rights on all fronts, specifically as it pertains to minority groups.”


Both the University of St. Martin and SAFE are pleased to host this event and look forward to more activities in the future through this established partnership.