The Netherlands has not taken in a single child from the former Moria refugee camp in Greece despite promising in September to house 100 of the ‘most vulnerable’ residents.
Nidos, the organisation responsible for unaccompanied child refugees, told NRC that it had not received any children under 14 from the camp. Deputy justice minister Ankie Broekers-Knol agreed in the autumn to rehouse 50 unaccompanied minors and 50 other vulnerable residents.
The deal followed a fire that destroyed the camp on the island of Lesbos and left thousands of refugees homeless. In a much criticised response, the Dutch government agreed to accommodate 100 refugees from Lesbos, but cut its quota for the year under a United Nations resettlement scheme by the same number.
Strict conditions were attached to the Moria deal that restricted eligibility to children who had a strong chance of securing permanent residency in the Netherlands. Most refugees in the Moria camp are from Afghanistan, which the Dutch authorities class as low risk.
A spokesman for the justice ministry said the process was ‘unfortunately dependent on the developments around Covid-19 and the restrictions in place in both the Netherlands and Greece’.
The Dutch government has extended the scheme to refugees from other camps in Greece because of the difficulty of finding suitable candidates from Moria. Broekers-Knol said in a letter to parliament in November that this had been requested by the Greek authorities.
One child from Syria is due to arrive later this week, NRC said. The Netherlands has received 49 out of the 50 vulnerable adults it promised to rehouse, half of whom were living in Moria at the time of the fire.
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