Friday 05 March 2021

UN calls on Holland to feed and house failed asylum seekers

United Nations human rights experts have told the Dutch government to offer emergency help to failed asylum seekers before Christmas in an Urgent Appeal Letter.

The letter says homeless migrants should get immediate emergency aid such as food, clothes and shelter. ‘In these dark days before Christmas it is distressing that the Dutch government will not use just 0.01% of its yearly budget to help people who live in absolute poverty and misery,’ the UN’s special envoy Philip Alston told the NRC.

Alston said that help is not a question of charity. ‘Access to emergency aid is a right and the Netherlands has a legal duty to provide it,’ he said.

It is not the first time the Netherlands has been criticised for its attitude to failed asylum seekers, who junior justice minister Fred Teevens says should not receive ‘bed, bath and bread’ if they refuse to cooperate with their deportation.

Last month, the Council of Europe said the Netherlands must ensure everyone living in the country has food, clothes and shelter, including failed asylum seekers who are not cooperating with efforts to deport them.

Around 60 councils have joined together to ask the government for a €15m ‘bridging loan’ for emergency aid during the winter months. So far, the government has not responded.

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