Wednesday, 11 November 2015 - 14:08
Half of Brabant towns turn “blind eye” to refugee crisis
More than half of the Brabant municipalities are not sheltering any refugees, because they feel they have no space. The central agency for the reception of refugees in the Netherlands, the COA, calls this nonsense. "They can be more creative in their thinking. Every municipality has four hectares of land free. We'll build a tent. Everyone has space, but not everyone is willing", COA spokesperson Robert Ploeg said to the Brabantse Dagblad. "They are turning a blind eye" The newspaper investigated the emergency shelters and long-term shelters for refugees in the province. Many of the Brabant municipalities that are not sheltering refugees, say that they do not have suitable locations for a shelter. The newspaper's investigation revealed that the interpretation of "suitable" varies from municipality to municipality. Boekel, for example, does not want to make its gymnasium available. While Goirle and Oisterwijk have done just that. The Netherlands is one of very few European countries where refugees have not ended up on the streets. Making sure it stays that way is becoming increasingly difficult. Dutch municipalities are not required to offer shelter, and as it is not mandatory many decide not to, according to the newspaper.