No school for refugee children as they move around Holland

children playgroundThree 12-year-old Syrian girls have lived in four different emergency refugee centres since arriving in the Netherlands a month ago, and are now about to move for a fifth time, broadcaster Nos says on Friday.

The girls, Zeneb, Douaa and Mimar, are in the Netherlands with their families but are unable to go to school and start learning Dutch because they don’t have a proper place to live.

Aid organisations, including Unicef and Defense for Children, have warned about the impact of constant moving on children, and are calling for them to be given access to education and a permanent home.

Junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff, who wrote to refugees earlier this week warning them of the ‘austere’ accommodation they will be given, says it is not possible to ensure children live longer in the same place and go to school.

Emergency accommodation can only be used for a few days and this means they will have to move on, Dijkhoff says. Education is only an option when children are in permanent refugee centres, he said.

The aid groups disagree and say the Netherlands has signed UN children’s rights treaties which state children should always be properly looked after, even in temporary accommodation.

‘This has to change,’ spokeswoman Karin Kloosterboer told the broadcaster. ‘This is bad for the children. They need peace and security when they come here.’

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