She was born in Paramaribo (Suriname). After studying Law in Leiden, she returned to Suriname and started a law firm with her husband Kenneth Gonçalves. After the 1980 coup, they both became outspoken critics of the government. In 1982, her husband was a victim of the ‘December murders’, whereupon she fled to the Netherlands. Mrs. Gonçalves now works to bring the perpetrators of the December murders to justice.
Currently, she is a member of the Dutch Council of States. Among her additional functions, she is Chair of the Foundation for Legal Cooperation Suriname-Netherlands, which she founded. Between 2001 and 2009 she was board member of Dutch section of Amnesty International and the International Executive Committee of Amnesty International.