Leiden city council has said it is prepared to house a number of orphaned refugee children currently living in camps on Greek islands, following an appeal by aid groups.
Earlier this week, Dutch refugee groups called on local authorities to ‘show leadership and generosity’ by accepting at least 500 children who have been stranded in Greek refugee camps.
Thousands of children without parents are being denied water, food, education, medical care and a roof over their heads, the organisations say.
Leiden is the first Dutch city to say it will accept some of the children – around 25 according to broadcaster NOS. ‘We are talking about children whose parents have died or are missing and who are living on Lesbos in terrible conditions,’ mayor Henri Lenferink said.
‘Leiden has always been a city of refugees and I am fully confident we will be able to look after these children properly.’
A majority of councillors in Amsterdam also back taking in some refugee children, as do councillors in Nijmegen and Groningen, NOS said.
‘Our appeal to Dutch local authorities is to follow the German example,’ the aid groups say. ‘Show that you are prepared to take in some of this vulnerable children and make this known. This is the only way we can get the cabinet to act.’
Greece asked EU countries to take in 2,500 children last October, but the Netherlands has so far declined to do so on an organised basis.
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