Dutch refugee group calls for more realistic debate

Akcakale - border gate refugeesRefugee organisation Vluchtelingenwerk says government rhetoric about refugees is partly to blame for the anti-asylum seeker sentiment in the Netherlands.

The organisation was responding to the decision by Geldermalsen council to scrap plans to build a refugee centre for 1,500 people following riots earlier this month, which led police to fire warning shots into the air.

‘Despite all the emergency measures, the government has still not done enough to make sure there is a good, realistic discussion about how people should be taken care of,’ deputy director Jasper Kuipers told broadcaster Nos.

The government brands refugees as a threat rather than a ‘reality which has to be dealt with’, Kuipers said.

It particular, it is unclear what people in places like Geldermalsen really think about plans to site a settlement centre in their locality, he said. ‘Are they against providing somewhere for refugees to live full stop, or are they opposed to the disproportionate size of some of the plans?’

Vluchtelingenwerk favours smaller refugee centres for between 200 and 500 people.

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