Margrite Kalverboer (Photo: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) Margrite Kalverboer (Photo: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)
Margrite Kalverboer appointed Netherlands' new children's advocate
Margrite Kalverboer was voted the new Children's Ombudsman by the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, on Tuesday. She got 78 of the 143 votes, news wire ANP reports. Rival candidate, Carla van Os, received 13 votes. The other 52 votes were declared invalid, most of them because they were simply blank. Sources told the news wire that especially VVD and PVV parliamentarians submitted blank votes. Both parties also voted against the establishment of the Children's Ombudsman in 2010. Kalverboer, 55, is a professor of Child, Education and Immigration at the University of Groningen. She shares several opinions with her predecessor, outspoken Marc Dullaert, particularly a deep concern for the caring of asylum seeking children in the Netherlands. On the university's website Kalverboer states that she is "very happy" with the appointment. "I am very much looking forward to start working as the Children's Ombudsman as soon as possible." she said. "I will continue the rich heritage Marc Dullaert left behind." The Children's Ombudsman makes sure that children's rights are respected in the Netherlands by the government, education, child care, child welfare and health care. It is also her task to advise parliament and organizations and to spread awareness on children's rights. The position was established in 2010 and Marc Dullaert was appointed the Netherlands' first Children's Ombudsman. He stepped down on April 1st, after National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen decided not to nominate him for another term.