Sunday 25 October 2020

Dutch celebrities call for ‘humane solution’ to refugee crisis

Do you hear the callMore than 100 Dutch celebrities, politicians and business leaders have taken out a full page advert in Thursday’s Telegraaf calling for a ‘humane solution’ to the ongoing refugee crisis.

Actress Carice van Houten, television presenter Wendy van Dijk, musical star Chantal Jansen, Rijksmuseum head Wim Pijpes and KPMG boss Jan Hommen are among the signatories to the statement which calls on politicians and the community to work together to solve the problem.

‘Do you hear the call?’ the advert asks. The refugee crisis has taken on ‘unimaginable dimensions’, the statement continues. Politicians and large parts of the community are reacting to the crisis using an old-fashioned approach ‘while the situation requires a total change,’ the celebrities say.

There is a risk that we will reduce our responsibility to doing as little as possible, the statement says. ‘But we have to ask ourselves if we will end up being the society which we would like to be… Let us work together with wisdom and compassion to come up with a humane solution. You can call on us.’

Housing

Meanwhile, the head of the Dutch refugee settlement agency on Thursday urged local councils to do more to find housing to cope with the influx of new refugees.

‘We are currently taking care of almost 30,000 people,’ Gerard Bakker told news agency ANP. ‘But 1,800 people are arriving every week and we urgently need to open new centres.’

So far 70 locations have been set up where refugees can live and Bakker said talks are under way with a further 120 local councils.

‘I can understand that some communities feel overwhelmed by the new arrivals,’ Bakker said, adding that there is always security on site and that officials are willing to solve problems together with locals.

‘No petrol bombs are being thrown through the windows here, as has happened in Germany,’ he said. ‘And I am proud of that.’

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